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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    May 15, 2013
    1:00 - 5:01pm EDT  

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those needs. h.r. 348 is a version in part for the homes for heroes act of 2011, 2009, 2008, which passed this house with well over 400 votes each. . as our service member and women continue to serve our country here and abroad, the least we can do is ensure they have proper access to the services that are offered to them when they return. this bill represents a step in that direction and i urge my colleagues to support this worthy endeavor and with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. green: thank you. i would like to start by thanking mr. hensarling, the chairperson of the committee. he gave me his word, he said this bill would come to the
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floor answered has kept his word. i'd like to thank the ranking member, ms. waters. she committed to help with this bill, in fact, the genesis of this was a conversation that i had with her and she kept her word. i would like to that mr. mchenry. indeed he and i do serve on oversight investigations and i appreciate very much his being here today to help us by managing this piece of legislation. i believe that he and i will accomplish additional things on a bipartisan basis. this is a bipartisan piece of legislation. i'd also like to thank the staff. while i will stand here and hopefully rise to the occasion, it really takes greater people to make the occasion. these people are the staffers that work long into the night on many occasions to try to reach a consensus on legislation. the staff really put a lot of time into this piece of legislation, mr. speaker, and i think they should be complimented. i especially would recognize
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one staffer in particular, ms. core. this is her last week in our congressional office. she worked with us on this piece of legislation. finally, i'd like to thank our veterans. mr. speaker, we stand here in the well of the house answered joy many of the freedoms that we have because there are people who are willing to go to distant places, willing to risk their lives. indeed, mr. speaker, many of them do not return the way they left. and i just believe, mr. speaker, that the least a grateful nation can do is make sure that when they return home they return home to good jobs, the best health care and good housing. i believe that it's almost sinful to see a veteran standing on the corner with a homeless, eads hungry.
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i believe we ought to do everything within our power to help people who are willing to risk their lives for us. i had the good fortune or misfortune, i'm not sure which, to pass by a v.a. hospital with a sign out front that read, come in and see the price of freedom. some things bear repeating. come in and see the price of freedom. the price of freedom is quite high, mr. speaker. the price of freedom will cost some in the prime of their lives things that you and i can never replace. money can't buy. and what money can't buy and you and i can't replace, the least we can do is all we can. this is why we're asking that the special assistant be placed in the office of the secretary of h.u.d., that this be codified into the law, that it
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is not going to be easy now for this person to be replaced or this position to be removed. and, mr. speaker, i must say lso that h.u.d. has been quite helpful. h.u.d. has established a similar position in another part of the department. but this would place the person in the office with the secretary. and this person in the office of the secretary would try to help us with some of the statistics that we find abhorrent. we find that there are approximately 76,000 to 144,000 veterans that are homeless. this is unacceptable. we find that on any night in 62,000 veterans were homeless. this is unacceptable. and what this assistant will do is work with the homeless veterans organizations, serve
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as a liaison person to the department of veterans' affairs, the u.s. interagency council on home ltsness, with state and local official -- homelessness, with state and local officials and not-for profit organizations. this assistant will coordinate services with these various entities. mr. speaker, this is not enough. but it is a start, it is a continuation, if you will, of what we've been trying to accomplish. and, mr. speaker, i beg that my colleagues, i would beseech them and implore them to please support this legislation, because you're really supporting our veterans. i will reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves the balance of his time. mr. mchenry: we have no more speakers. but i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina reserves his time. mr. green: with this, mr. speaker, i would recognize -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized.
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mr. green: thank you, mr. speaker. i will close. and in closing i will remind us that the greatness of america is not going to be measured by how we treat people who live in the suites of life. the greatness of america is often going to be judged by how we treat people who live in the streets of life. and too often we have people who have served their country living in the streets of life. they literally live on the streets. it is time for us, the richest country in the world, for one out of every 100 persons is a millionaire, to acknowledge what our veterans have done to make it possible for us to enjoy these great and noble american ideals, as ex tolled in the pledge of allegiance, liberty and justice for all, in the constitution, wherein we would have all people be created and treated equally. and so, mr. speaker, i just beg
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in closing that we members take advantage of this opportunity to support our veterans. it is not something that is going to break the bank. in fact, it has a minimal impact on the deficit. but it can have a huge impact on our veterans. i thank you, i thank you, mr. mchenry, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mchenry: the gentleman from north carolina. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina. mr. mchenry: wishing to close, i recognize myself for such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, i want to commend my colleagues to this bill. i would like to congratulate my colleague, mr. green, on putting forward such a worthy proposal that is both sensible and at the same time deeply honors our most treasured resource in this country, our returning veterans. to make sure they're well cared for. so i ask my colleagues to
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support this measure and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 384 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection -- mr. mchenry: mr. speaker. mr. speaker. i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from north carolina. mr. mchenry: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this otion will be postponed.
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the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 360, an act to award a congressional gold medal to addie mae collins, denise mcnair, carole robertson, and cynthia wesley, to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of the 16th street baptist church, where these four little black girls' ultimate sacrifice served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman
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rom utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: mr. speaker, could i ask clarification of what bill is actually up right now? the speaker pro tempore: there's no bill pending. does the gentleman have a motion? mr. bishop: all right. you scared me there. -- k then that we call up to suspend the rules and pass house resolution -- house bill 356. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman call up h.r. 356? mr. bishop: yes. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 35, h.r. 356, a bill to clarify authority granted under the act entitled an act to define the exterior boundary of the uintah indian reservation in the state of utah and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore:
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pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, and the gentleman from the northern mariana islands, mr. sablan, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bishop: thank you and i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: you're recognized. mr. bishop: h.r. 356 is called the hill creek cultural preservation and energy development act and it's so to promote economic development within the uintah indian reservation and to increase funding for public education within the state of utah as well as to protect some culturally and environmentally sensitive lands that are within that particular reservation. this is a bipartisan bill, it's supported by the entire utah congressional delegation, the oil and gas industry, the yute tribe. it's a noncontroversial measure that will authorize the secretary of interior to resolve a decade-old land
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tenure issue in a manner that's supported by all parties. n 1948 congress extended the uintah reservation that surrounded about 18,000 acres of school trust land and mineral leases that were within that portion. 1955, congress attempted to solve the dispute amongst some of these lands and actually failed in doing so. so the yute tribe has long protected the southern portion of this hill creek area for cultural and environmentally -- environmental reasons. it's also in an area that's known as one of the most remote and rugged places within the state of utah. the utah school institutional lands administration which managed the school lands in utah has a constitutional mandate to fund the public education. so to achieve the desires of the state for funding education and the tribe to promote their cultural areas, both parties have worked together in a cooperative way to craft a plan that authorizes the secretary to exchange lands.
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so that areas are now in the southern part that want to be preserved will be sent over to the reservation. areas in the northern part will -- that have mineral resources en over to be give the organization on an acre-to-acre by a sills. both the tribe will develop oil and gas resources within the northern portion of hill creak and share in that revenue. american taxpayers will also share in the mineral revenue. so, mr. speaker, congress needs to take note that this model of how you resolve land tenure issues is an extremely effective one. divisive issues in the past can be solved through a collaborative process that allows for all points of use to be considered and heard as was done in this particular bill. as a result we will protect some of our wildest places in utah and also allow for responsible oil and gas production that will help in funding the education system in utah. so i'm hoping to replicate this
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collaborative model, to reserve some of the other long-standing issues that our public lands -- that are public lands conflicts in my home state of utah. with that, mr. speaker, i eserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves his time. the gentleman from the mariana islands is recognized. mr. sablan: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. sablan: and i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. sablan: mr. speaker, h.r. 356 clarifies existing law regarding the federal government's authority to permit land exchanges within the boundaries of the indian reservations in northeastern utah and resolves the real estate problem caused by federal error over 50 years ago. the legislation returns the state to the yute tribe and a portion of its reservation that the tribe considers culturally and environmentally significant
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and thus preserves the area's pristine wilderness from development. last congress the house passed a virtually identical bill under suspension of the rule by voice vote and again i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 356 and i reserve the balance of my time. mr. bishop: i'm ready to conclude whenever the gentleman is. mr. sablan: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: the state and the tribe have been asking congress to get this done for many years. it's a wildly popular proposal. it's supported by the state. it's supported by local governments. it's supported by the tribes. it's a bipartisan bill and i urge my colleagues to support it. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 356. those in favor say aye.
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those opposed, no. 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i ask that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 767 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 33. h.r. 767, a bill to amend the energy policy act of 2005 to modify the pilot project offices of the federal permit treamlining pilot project. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, and the gentleman from the northern mariana islands, mr. sablan, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah. mr. bishop: mr. speaker. sorry for interrupting. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and
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include extraneous materials on the bill under coer the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. bishop: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: this would be a name change in the montana project to include montana-dakotas state office. we don't limit it only to the area of montana especially because the area of north dakota is so important in the development of these pilot projects. with that, mr. speaker, i would yield the remainder of my time, as much time as he may consume to the representative from north dakota. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields. the gentleman from north dakota is recognized. mr. cramer: i thank my colleague from utah. i want to thank the chairman of the natural resources committee, mr. hastings, and the ranking member, mr. markey, and especially thank the chairman of theco energy and minerals, mr. lamborn, and the ranking member, mr. holt.
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we worked together on this and i'm very proud of the outcome. it's a rather benign bill that has rather major ramifications, i believe. i also want to thank the leadership at the bureau of land management for not only doing an excellent job in managing the lands, the federal lands in north dakota, but their support of this bill and their guidance, frankly, in helping to craft it in a way that meets the objectives. the energy policy act of 2005 established a federal permit streamlining pilot project to improve the processing of oil and gas applications for drilling on federal lands. the montana b.l.m. in mile city was included in the pilot project but what was not known to the drafters of the legislation then was that north and south dakota are under the direct jurisdiction of that regional office in mile city. so without the word dakotas in the policy -- energy policy
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act, north dakota was excluded from this pilot project. that in normal times may not be all that important, but as it turns out, north dakota is in the heart -- it really is the heart of the largest oil play and the most exciting oil play going on in the continent. so the streamlining process itself i think deserves some explanation, because i think what i want to do is to calm the fears in anybody that think we might be cutting corners or regulatory process that deserves the rigor that it's receiving. what the streamlining process does is not cut corners but rather it streamlines by could he locating all of the -- co-locating all of the jurisdictions like the e.p.a., like the bureau of land management, perhaps usda, u.s. g.s. by co-locating them, you not only enjoy the efficiency of everybody working together in the same place but you actually
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get some cinergy as well because you have the experts in the same room on the same plat of land at the same time. ers d streamlines but esn't cut also has broad ramifications because i think that north dakota is the perfect laboratory for a pilot project like that. the reason i say that is because there's high demand for processing, and a lot of applications for drilling on very few acres. north dakota is blessed to largely be private and state land, not much federal land. but there are about two million federal acres that b.l.m. has direct oversight. that is to say mineral -- two million acre mineral acres and there are applications for permit to drill on that amount of land. the average number of days to getting a permit processed by the state, regulatory body, is about 20 days.
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for the federal lands it's anywhere from 225 to 300 or more days. that's too much. i certainly don't advocate nor do i think anybody else could advocate, you know, streamlining this to the point where it takes 10 or 20 days to issue a permit on federal lands. clearly there are 325 million owners of those federal lands. it requires a more robust environmental protection regime. but we can do better than that, and i think we ought to do better than that. i think the north dakota experiment is one that people will look back on and say that's the way to do it, that's the right way to do it. we in north dakota care a great deal about our land and about our water and about our air, and we look forward to working closely with the federal officials who have an equal care in making this work. i might also add this similar bill was passed last year in the senate. it did not get a hearing in the
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house. the same companion bill has been introduced again in the senate this year by senator hoeven and co-sponsor by senator high camp. it has bipartisan support in the senate. it has passed. the committee over there has not gone to the floor yet. so, again, i appreciate the leadership that the chair and ranking members have provided on this and urge my colleagues to pass this important bill. i yield back. mr. bishop: i have no other speakers but i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from the northern mariana islands is recognized. mr. sablan: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. sablan: and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. sablan: mr. speaker, h.r. 767 would broaden the geographic region for the pilot program created in 2005 to provide additional resources to some b.l.m. field offices to permit oil and gas development and conduct environmental reviews. the bureau of land management assessed by the pilot program
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has led to increased oil and gas inspection and enforcement capability hiring more skills specialists. the bureau of land management has said that it has left to better compliance by industry and reduction in major violations due to the number of inspectors in the field. we do not oppose this bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. mr. bishop: i have no other speakers. mr. sablan: at this time i yield back the balance of my time and i also ask support for h.r. 767. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. mr. bishop: i urge adoption of it and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 767, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative -- mr. bishop: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. bishop: on that i ask for the yeas and nays.
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the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this otion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 573. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 34, h.r. 573, a bill to amend public law 93-435 with respect to the northern mariana islands, providing parity with guam, the virgin islands, and merican samoa. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, and the gentleman from the northern mariana islands, mr. sablan, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from utah, . bimrop: ag isk unanimous consent that all
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members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on this bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. bishop: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bishop: this bill is a great bill that treats the northern mariana islands the same way as other colonies by expanding their territorial waters up to three newtcal miles. that is the same with guam, american samoa. it's a great bill we passed last year by a very close vote of 397-0. i urge adoption of this bill, again, and i hope this time the senate will be wise enough to pick it up. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves. northern man from the mariana islands is recognized. mr. sablan: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. sablan: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. sablan: mr. speaker, i also rise in support of h.r. 573.
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the bill conveys to the commonwealth of the northern mariana islands the three miles of submerged lands surrounding the islands. i want to thank chairman doc hastings, ranking member ed markey of the natural resources committee, and john fleming and my good friend, mr. bishop from utah, for managing today's bill, all for their support of h.r. 573. the northern marianas is the only coastal jurisdiction that doesn't have management of the submerged lands off their coast. this corrects the regularity. it provides the same ownership rights as are provided by federal law to guam, the united states virgin islands and american samoa. today will be the third time the house will vote to convey these lands. in both the 111th and 112th congress, we approved this transfer unanimously. i hope that the house will make
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the same decision again today, and i hope the other body this time finally also agree that the northern mariana islands should have the rights of ownership of submerged -- offshore submerged land and resources as the rest of america enjoys. for thousands of years the people of the northern mariana islands certainly believe these resources were ours. it was not until a 2005 ruling by the ninth circuit court of appeals that we were informed that these were not our lands, that instead belongs to the federal government. we were grateful that there were members of congress who quickly responded and at that time we had no representation here. then congressman, now senator jeff flake, introduced a bill conveying this bill shortly after the circuit ruling. pete domenici provided an amendment to the flake measure. as the first representative of
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the northern mariana islands i continue to work on this issue as i said in the 111th, 112th and now in the 113th congress. in summary, h.r. 573 costs nothing. congress has the constitutional authority to enact it. the bill will simply provide parity for ownership, the ownership and responsibility for submerged surrounding lands and waters that every other coastal areas of our nation enjoys. i want to thank all 36 members who are co-sponsors of this bill and i ask that my colleagues here today support h.r. 573. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back? mr. sablan: and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. bishop: mr. speaker, it's a great bill. we hope the third time is a charm in this process. i urge support of this bill and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 573. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the
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affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess subject to the call f the chair.
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is threatened by the long-term consequences by budget sequestration and joint committee reductions which will worsen in fiscal year 2014 unless congress adopts a balanced deficit reduction plan. should congress fail to do so, i fear that these reductions will undermine our ability to deliver justice for millions of americans and to keep essential public safety professionals on the job. we simply cannot allow this to happen. this afternoon i ask for your support in preventing these cuts and ensuring that the department has the resources it needs to fulfill its critical missions. i thank you once again for the chance to discuss our current
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efforts and i'd be happy to answer any questions you might have, and i see i didn't make my five minutes. >> your consideration was very good and you were close. we thank you for your opening statement. we'll now proceed with questions under the fimet rule and i'll begin -- five-minute rule and i'll again by recognizing myself for five minutes. you addressed in your remarks my first question which deals with the troubling information that was received by the f.b.i. and other agencies of the government prior to the boston marathon bombing, but it does not appear that all of the information was received by all of the pertinent parties, particularly the f.b.i., which had conducted an investigation -- to o tammy baldwin -- their trip to russia. we'd like to work with you and
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know what the department is doing to adopt procedures for handling hits in relevant databases and making sure that information between agencies is improved. >> we certainly want to work with you in that regard. there is an ongoing inspector general investigation as to how information was or was not shared in the context you described. i think generally the f.b.i. did a very good job in acquiring information to the extent that it could. i'm not at all certain that the requests made to a foreign country by the f.b.i. were replied to in an adequate manner. i think that is at least one of the problems that we have. this is a matter ongoing by the i.g.'s. >> in 2010 -- and this relates to the aftermath of the arrest of jokejoke. in 2010 you intended strong for support modifying the criminal rules to ensure that investigators could obtain
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critical information relating to terrorism experts. you said in 2010 we are now dealing with international terrorists and i think we have to deal with perhaps modifying the rules that interrogators have in coming up with something that is flexible and is more consistent with the threat that we now face. would you be willing to work with the committee in handling terrorism questions, particularly this issue of how long the f.b.i. or other law enforcement can question somebody about imminent threats? there is a supreme court case recognizing that but it collides with another supreme court case saying you have to e presented within 48 hours. and that caused some consternation by the f.b.i. about future events, other conspirators and the location bombs and equipment related to the terrorist attack.
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>> yes. it's defined in rule five, the rules of criminal procedure. there was a proposal that we floated out there that i talked about, what i would prefer to do would be to work with members of congress who are interested perhaps in looking at the world as we see it now. it r the case was dealt with somebody who asked, where is the gun. as we deal with terrorist suspects there is much more broad questions that we need to ask. who else was involved in this matter? there are other sploice devices that we need to deal with? are there other threats that happen today or in the next three days and we think a question period would be appropriate. i think this would require interaction between the executive and legislative branches to come up with something that would pass constitutional muster.
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>> it was recently reported by the justice department that they received two months of telephone records of more than 20 reporters and editors with the associated press, including both work and personal phone lines. there's been a lot of criticism raised about the scope of this investigation, including why the department needed to subpoena records for 20 people over a lengthy two-month period. why was such a broad scope approved? >> there's been a lot of criticism. the head of the r.n.c. asked for my resignation. i was not the person involved in that decision. but be that as it may, i was recused in that matter as i described in a press conference held yesterday the decision issued the subpoena was made by the people involved in the case. the matter is being supervised by the deputy attorney general. i am not familiar with the
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reasons why the case -- why the subpoena was constructed in the way that it was because i'm simply not a part of the case. >> it's my understanding that one of the requirements before compelling process from a media outlet is to give the outlet otice. >> i don't know with regard to that particular case why that was or was not done. i don't know if we have a factual basis to answer that question. >> and it's been reported that the associated press refrained from releasing this story for a week until the department confirmed that doing so would not jeopardize national security interests. that indicates that the a.p. was amenable to working with you on this matter. if that is the case, why was it necessary to subpoena the telephone records? did you seek the a.p.'s assistance in the first place? nd if not why not?
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>> i don't know what happened. i was recused from the case. >> i take you that you and others in the justice department will be forthcoming with those answers to those questions as you explore why this was handled what appears to be contrary to the law and standard procedure. >> again, there are exceptions to some of the rules that you pointed out, and i have faith in the people that actually were responsible for this case, that they were aware of the rules and that they followed them but i don't have a factual basis to answer the questions that you have asked because i was recused. i don't know what has happened in this matter. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. and i now recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for five minutes. > thank you, mr. chairman. >> i know that some of our members have been outspoken in
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opposition to the free flow of information act. in the past and have commented publicly about the outrage over . e associated press subpoenas but now i'm very delighted to learn that many have changed their attitude on this and i am particularly glad to welcome the support of chairman darrell issa as we move forward with his legislation. mr. attorney general, there has perez ticism about tom as attorney -- assistant attorney general and that he may have mismanaged employees
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at the civil rights division in the department of justice. are you able to comment on mr. perez's track record as manager of the division and allegations that he politicized enforcement of civil rights laws? >> yeah, i think that tom perez has been an outstanding assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. i think he will be a great secretary of labor. there have been reports done that looked at the condition of the civil rights division, the inspector general has spent two years looking at the voting section. there have been -- there was a joint report by o.p.r. as well as the office of professional responsibility as well as the inspector general. i guess that was issued in 2008. and i think those findings are really important. found that the enforcement of voting rights laws during this administration was not based on improper racial or political
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considerations. found that the hiring practices were not politically motivated. found there was no basis to believe that the voting section politicized the responses. now, there have been some indications that people in the voting section in particular have not gotten along with each other too well. there are a number of incidents, the majority of which were in the prior administration that i think were not really good examples of how dorge employees are supposed to work -- d.o.j. employees are supposed to work with one another. if you look at tom perez's number of cases brought against police departments that -- record amounts of money recovered in discrimination suits, record number of voting rights cases filed, he's done what we expect a person who would head the civil rights division which i think is the conscience of the justice department. he's done an outstanding job and deserves to be confirmed as secretary of labor. >> thank you. now there has been a lot of
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discussion about banks being too big to prosecute. and i'd like -- i think this is very critical because much of the sagging economy that we're climbing out of is a direct result of wall street intransigent and perhaps improper conduct and activity. now, can you distinguished between cases that we might bring against those on wall street who caused the financial crisis or were responsible in large part? have we an economic system in which we have banks that are too big to prosecute? i mean, the department of justice's got to look at this very carefully.
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>> let me make something real clear right away. i made a statement i guess in a senate hearing that i think has been misconstrued. i said it was difficult at times to bring cases against large financial institutions because the potential consequences that they would have on the financial system. but let me make it very clear that there is no bank, there's no institution, there's no individual who cannot be investigated and prosecuted by the united states department of justice. as i indicated in my opening statement, we have brought thousands of financially based cases over the course of the last 4 1/2 years. now, there are a number of factors we have to take into consideration to make sure or to take into consideration as we decide who we're going to prosecute. innocent people can be impacted by a prosecution brought of a financial institution or any corporation. but let me be very, very, very clear. banks are not too big to jail. if we find a bank or a
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financial institution that has done something wrong, if we can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, those cases will be brought. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. sensenbrenner, the chairman of the subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigation, for five minutes. >> i ask the attorney general, thank you for coming. i'd like to pin down who authorized the subpoenas for the a.p. and the code of federal regulations is pretty specific on subpoenas for media. -- eputy attorney general >> i have to assume he did. i only say assume. recusals are such i don't have any interaction to people involved in the case. under the regulations, the attorney general has to authorize the subpoena in my absence. the deputy attorney general would in essence act as the
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acting attorney general. >> you know if deputy attorney general cole was also interviewed in the investigation that caused your recusal? >> i don't know. i don't know. i assume he was but i don't know. >> why were you interviewed? were you a witness or was this a part of your official duties as attorney general? >> no, i was interviewed as one of the people who had access to the information that was at -- that was the subject of the investigation. i along with other members of the national security division recused myself, the head of the national security division left. the president of the national security division recused himself. i recused myself because i thought it was inappropriate to be a fact witness in a case to actually lead the investigation given the fact, unlike mr. cole, that i have a greater interaction with members of the press than he does.
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>> how does that make you a fact witness if you're getting the work product of assistant u.s. attorneys that -- and the f.b.i. that are looking into a matter? you'd be a policy person in deciding whether or not to proceed with subpoenas or ultimately signing off on indictments. >> i'm a fact witness in the fact i am a possessor. i was a possessor, i am the possessor of the information that was ultimately leaked. the question is who of those people who possessed that information, which was relatively limited number of people within the justice department, who of those people, who of those possessors actually spoke in an inappropriate way to members of the associated press? >> who else had access to that information? >> well, this is an ongoing information. i would not want to reveal what i know and i don't know if there are other people who have
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been developed as possible recipients during the course of the investigation. i don't know. >> i'm trying to figure out who authorized the subpoena. you can't tell me if deputy attorney general cole authorized the s&p. somebody had to -- authorize the subpoena. somebody had to authorize the subpoena because the code is such that this is close to the top as possible. >> i can't say as a matter of fact. i have to assume and i would say probably 95%, 99% certain that the deputy attorney general acting in my stead authorized the subpoena. >> ok. the code of federal regulations also is very specific that there should be negotiations prior to the issuance of the subpoena with news media organization involved, and the a.p. said there was no negotiations at all. now, there are two different parts of the regulation that
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play be in conflict with each other. one is more generic than the other, but there were no negotiations whatsoever. and why weren't there negotiations? >> that i don't know. there are exceptions to that rule that say if the integrity of the investigation might be impacted, the negotiations don't have to occur. i don't know why that didn't happen. >> hasn't somebody in the justice department said the integrity of the investigation would not be impacted with negotiations either under subsection c which is generic or subsection d which is more specific? >> i don't know. but let me say this. i've just been given a note that we have in fact confirmed that the deputy was the one who authorized the subpoena. >> i think we have to talk to m about this, but -- you know, mr. attorney general, i think this committee has been frustrated at least the last 2 1/2 years, if not the last 4 1/2 years that there doesn't
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seem to be any acceptance of responsibility in the justice department for things that have gone wrong. now, may i suggest that you and maybe mr. cole and a few other people go to the truman library and take a picture of this thing he had on his desk that said the buck stops here because we don't know where the buck stops, and i think to do adequate oversight we better find out and better find out how this mishap happened. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, the ranking member on the subcommittee on constitution and civil justice, mr. nadler, for five minutes. >> i thank the chairman. i thank the chairman and i want to talk about a dozen subjects but i think i'll stick to three in the time i have. i have no doubt -- and we've already been hearing much human cry about the department of justice probe of a.p. records. i think we should put this in context and remember that less
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than a year ago this committee's republican leadership demanded aggressive investigation of press leaks, accusing the administration itself of orchestrating those leaks. then members of this committee want the reporters subpoenaed, put in front of grand juries and potentially jailed for contempt. now, of course, it is convenient to attack the attorney general for being too aggressive or the justice department for being too aggressive. but this inconsistency on the part of my republican colleagues should not distract us from legitimate questions worthy of congressional oversight, including whether the espionage act has been inappropriately used in looking at leakers, whether there's a need for a greater press shield which i believe there is, such as measures my colleagues have worked -- some of my colleagues have worked in the past and broad surveillance authority and immunity that some of my republican colleagues supported and before today have been unwilling to re-examine. those are questions we need to pursue and i hope that today's
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rhetoric translates into meaningful bipartisan support for looking into those questions. now, to switch topics, this was brought up already, but the committee has engaged, this committee has engaged in the relentless unfounded and grossly unfair attack on the leadership and integrity of deputy attorney general of -- sorry, assistant attorney general tom perez. they've questioned his efforts f getting st. paul to withdraw their case. i'd like to give you, sir, an opportunity to address two questions. first, can you comment on assistant attorney general perez's track record briefly? because i have other -- as manager of the civil rights division? >> i think he's been an outstanding head of the civil rights division. i think you look at the giants of the department in that record, you think of john dore. i think he's about 50 years -- served 50 years or so ago. i think people will look back
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at tom perez's time and compare him to somebody like john dore. >> thank you. second, my colleagues said that e broke a bargain where he convinced the city to drop the appeal and the civil division agreed not to intervene in a false claims act against the city. the minority's conclusion after more than 18 months investigating this is there assistant attorney general perez did nothing wrong and in fact appropriately carried out his duties as the steward of the civil rights division and in fact the facts showed it was senior career officials in the civil division who overruled junior career officials in the civil rights -- in the civil division and ruled that -- and believed that that particular false claims act case was a very bad case. a weak case. and that the department should not join -- although they did not prevent the complainant
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from continuing. and that there was nothing inappropriate in making a decision not to take the magna case to the supreme court because hard facts -- bad facts make hard law, the other way around, i forget. in your view, is there anything done inappropriate with regard to this matter? >> i think the city reached out. consideration was given to the action taken before mr. perez moved forward with what he did. he consulted with the ethical people, legal and ethical people and professional responsibility people within the civil rights division to make sure that the course of action he was proposing was ethically sound. it seems to me what was done was in the best interest of the people of the united states. >> thank you. let me ask with respect to guantanamo. congress has placed several restrictions on the administration with regard to the transfer of potential trial of detainees still being held in guantanamo.
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what steps, if any, can the president take on his own, assuming congress remains -- to make sure we either brick these individuals to justice through trial or find a way to release through transfer or repatriate them? i just take this as axiomatic that it is wrong and unworthy of the united states to simply grab individuals whom we may believe to be terrorists, never try them and never release them. it's wrong to hold people indefinitely for life without any charges. and in fact, especially since 66 of them have been declared by our own government to pose no risk. so what can we do -- 86 of them. sorry. what can we do to avoid the situation without any claim of right at all, the united states he have indefinitely holds the -- states indefinitely holds 86 people in jail with no release? >> i think congress has
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unwisely put in place impediments to what the president wants to do and what i have said i think is the wise thing to do which is to close guantanamo. there are steps that the administration can do and that we we will do in attempt to close that facility. there's substantial number of people who can, for instance, move back to yemen. the president put a hold on that given the situation that we had in yemen at the time. i think that is something we have to review. i think we have to revitalize our effort to getting a representative to go to different countries in the way that mr. dan free was an employee of the state department, did an effective job finding alternative placements for people when their home countries will not accept them. i had the responsibility when i came into office looking at the population at guantanamo and making determinations as to who could be released, who needs to be tried and who needs to be held under the laws of war. the task force i set up did a great job.
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i think it was difficult but not impossible for us to move people people out of guantanamo and i think the president indicated that we will take renewed action in that regard. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair would note that the committee has requested the appearance of the assistant attorney general and head of the civil rights division, mr. perez, to testify and answer the numerous questions that have been posed about his activities and he's refused the committee's request. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. coble, for five minutes. >> i thank the chairman. attorney general, good to have you on the hill today. i want to visit benghazi for a moment. some recent days ago former secretary of state, hillary clinton, appeared before a senate hearing and she was asked about her comment on
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concerning -- misstatements or inconsistencies surrounding the libya tragedy. she responded, what difference does it make? i took up bridge with that that e when -- with response when she said it. i assure mrs. clinton, it makes a whole lot of differences to the survivors of the four americans that were killed that day in benghazi. now, having said that, mr. attorney general, can you give us an update on where the f.b.i.'s investigation of benghazi stands as of today? >> i can't be definitive other than to say the investigation is ongoing, that we are at a point where we have taken steps that i would say are definitive, concrete and we are -- we will be prepared shortly i think to reveal all that we
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have done. >> i thank you, sir. i just find mrs. clinton's response to be condescending and laced with insincerity. very impartial. that will be for another day. last month, mr. attorney general, in the wake of the boston bombing, you warned in a lengthy statement against acts of violence or retaliation against muslims and other groups. can you share the specific reason that supporting giving this warning, a, and b, had there been acts of retaliation against boston which the department was aware? >> that was more preventive statement i think than anything we have seen in the past people perceived as muslims, may not have been, and who were attacked as a result of incidents that might have happened. and the statement i was making
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was simply for people not to let emotions, stereotypical action come into play and so that people who were muslim, perceived to be muslim might somehow be physically harmed. >> i thank you for that. this -- i'm shifting gears now. visibility is blocked between you and the attorney general. i like to see you. you like to see me when we're responding. now i'm having to see you -- i forgot what i was going to ask you. it will come back to me in due time. well, maybe it won't. [laughter] i still have time. i still see the green light. i'm going to try to get through here. senior moment recovered. the decision in north carolina which have retroactively applied could result in the release of convicted felons.
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members of my staff have been in touch with members of your staff, and do you have a comment on this? if not you and i could get together subsequently. are you familiar? >> yes, i am. it establishes that certain federal convictions and enhanced penalties that is approved on proof of a prior felony conviction, we now know is a misdemeanor, and has caused some problems. we now need to know -- we have to balance i think this motion of fundamental fairness with the need -- protection from the people who are dangerous. we need to look at the facts and try to determine what relief is warranted and the ability to work perhaps with you and members of your staff in this regard i think would be something that would be appropriate. this is essentially a law enforcement matter but some guidance or thoughts you have in this regard i think would be
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appreciated. >> well, i think thus far the exchange between you and staff and our staff has been favorable and effective and i thank you for that. and mr. chairman, i hope you will note that the red light has not yet appeared and i am yielding back. >> 26 seconds. the gentleman from virginia, mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. attorney general. . i think we can all agree the published reports which suggests the i.r.s. agents were denying people their proper consideration based on politics, that's the allegation, i assume you haven't completed your investigation, but i think there's bipartisan agreement that you shouldn't be able to do that. now, you have publicly said you are having a criminal investigation. there are obviously criminal laws against denial of civil rights under 1983. there's also a specific i.r.s.
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code that says, any officer or employee of the united states acting in connection with any revenue law of the united states who with the intent to defeat the application of any provision of this title fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment. then goes on to show if you violate that, that's a five-year felony. are there any gaps in the criminal code that would make it difficult for you to pursue criminal sanctions if you find that i.r.s. agents were denying benefits under the internal revenue code based on politics? >> that's a good question and i'm not sure what the answer is. i think the provisions you have noted are ones we are looking at. there are civil rights provisions, i.r.s. provisions, potentially the hatch act. i think we'll have to get into the investigation before i can answer that question for intellectually. to the extent there are enforcement gaps that we find,
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we'll let this committee know and hopefully work with this committee to make sure what ifpened, was outrageous, and we have to bring criminal actions so that that kind of activity does not happen again. >> i understand that certain officials in the i.r.s. have apologized. does an apology immunize you from criminal prosecution? >> no. >> under the fair sentencing ct, we went from 101 to 18-1 under the crack and powder. is the department of justice reviewing sentences done under the 100-1 for possible commutation? >> we are looking at -- put together a working group to look at exactly who we have imprisoned in our bureau of prisons and make sure we are holding the appropriate people for appropriate lengths of time. and to see whether or not there are some changes that we need to
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be made. we have, for instance, over 133 people, i think, above the age of 80 in the federal prison system. i think i have about 35 who are over the age of 85. there may be good reasons why they should serve the rest of their lives in jail. on the other hand, it may be there is a basis for them to be released. so we are looking at this question overall as to what is -- what our prison population looks like, whether the commutation policy should be changed, whether the i.g. had a very useful report about compassionate release and how we should use that. we can save money by releasing people a little before their time. but we would only do so if it would not endanger the public say. we are looking at the question in a broader way. >> thank you. under the faith-based initiative apparently although since 1965 you could not discriminate based on race, color, creed, national origin, or sex apparently there is a new idea about this that
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some kind of exemptions are awarded that allow some faith-based organizations to discriminate based on religion with the federal money? how do you decide who can discriminate with federal money based on religion? >> i think what we want to try to do is make sure that no inappropriate discrimination -- no discrimination occurs. you and i have talked about this since before i was sworn in. >> there is discrimination going -- let me get one more question in. the effects of sequester on the judicial branch, public defenders, court bailives and other court personnel are being furloughed. what effect does that have on the administration of justice? >> that's a very good question. i met with the chiefs of all of the districts, district courts around the united states, about two weeks or so ago.
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and they asked me to perhaps be their voice. judges don't get a chance to speak in the way that i do. i think that as we consider this whole problem, and it is a problem of sequestration, that we take into account the impact it has on our courts, probation offices. if we want to have the court system that we need to have, if we want to process criminal cases, if we want to process criminal cases, if we want to assess people for probation, incarceration, the court has to have sufficient funds to do so. and they are in a very bad way with regard to the situation that exists now. and certainly for the situation that exists in 2014. so as we are thinking about sequester fixes, i would ask everybody to remember the court system and all its constituents. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the former chairman of the committee, the gentleman from texas, mr. smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, mr. attorney general. you have announced a criminal
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investigation into allegations that i.r.s. employees have unfairly targeted conservative organizations. and i'm sure you would agree that when the federal government, the federal government targets individuals or organizations because of their political beliefs, that is a threat to our democracy and quite possibly a violation of an individual or organization's first amendment rights. so far we have allegations, i think, involving four cities -- cincinnati, washington d.c., two california cities, where i.r.s. agents might have targeted conservative groups. it so happens a year ago on behalf of the san antonio tea party i wrote the commissioner of the i.r.s. asking him to look into what appeared to be targeted actions by the i.r.s. against the san antonio tea party. my first question is this, does your investigation -- is your investigation going to go beyond
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cincinnati, beyond ohio? is it going to be a national investigation that includes washington, d.c., as well? and includes any allegations wherever they might occur? >> yes, it would. the facts will take us wherever they take us. it will not be only one city. we'll go wherever the facts lead us. >> anything to limit this to the u.s. attorney in high, you'll go nationwide? >> no. this is something we'll base -- at the beginning stages, but we are basing it in washington. and that way we can, i think, have a better impact nationwide. >> without saying whether any criminal laws have actually been broken, what are some possible criminal laws that could have been violated if, in fact, individuals or organizations were targeted for their conservative views? >> i think it was congressman scott really put his finger on it. there are potential civil rights --
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>> do you know any criminal laws? >> i'm talking about criminal cases. criminal violations in the civil rights statutes, i.r.s.. i think we find there. there's also the possibility of false statements, violation that atmight have been made given least what i know at this point. >> i think some of the criminal laws might have been violated 18 united states code 222 makes it a crime to deprive any person rights or immunities garnedeteed by the constitution. or government employees to deprive taxpayers of their honest services. what civil recourse might be obtained by individuals or organizations that were unfairly targeted for their conservative beliefs? >> that i'm not sure. we have to get back to you with an answer. i just don't know what civil recourse they might have. >> i think it's possible they might be able to recute any
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expenses they incurred trying to respond to the targeted approach by the i.r.s. does that sound likely to you? >> it's possible. i know that in other instances where somebody has tried, criminal case, they can get their costs back at times. >> another subject, mr. attorney general, last week you responded to a letter that i wrote you last year in regard to the anti-lobbying act as amended in 2002. and you said in your response to me, this is a quote, the act prohibits the use of appropriated funds to influence an official of any government, end quote. does that apply to health and human services grantees who might use those dollars to lobby state and local officials? >> i didn't hear the last part. appropriate money to -- >> i don't know if you understood. you responded to my letter last week in regard to the
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anti-lobbying act as amended in 2002. and you said that the act prohibits the use of appropriated funds to influence an official of any government. my question to you is, does your statement and evaluation of the anti-lobbying act apply to health and human services grantees who may have used those dollars to lobby state and local governments? >> i think you might be referring to what i only read about in the newspapers involving what h.h.s. is doing with implementation of the act. i don't know whether or not -- what funds are being used or whether that letter would apply to that effort. i just don't know. >> would you get back to me that if you don't think your statement, which is pretty clear to me that it would apply, would you get back to me as to why you think it should not apply to health and human services or other government agencies that might be grantees and that would use that money to lobby local
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and state -- >> we'll do thatment given the relationship you and i have mr. former chairman, we'll try to get back to you in a more timely fashion than we did on that first one. >> that would be appreciated. thank you. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from north carolina, mr. watt. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> you are only supposed to do that at your confirmation hearing. that's when you roll out the kids. >> i'm just trying to get my line of questioning. i have been in the back listening and nico says you have done a good job up to this point. mr. attorney general, i'm going to just ask you a couple questions related to intellectual property, which is the subcommittee that i'm ranking member on. the administration has called on congress to make illegal distribution by streaming a felony, can you describe the
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current tools at the department's disposal to combat copyright infringement and how classifying streaming as a felony enhanced department's enforcement efforts in this area. >> i think what we are looking for just an expanded set of tools so we can have a prosecution and enforcement effort that's consistent with the nature. all we can do is bring a misdemeanor charge. sometimes these crimes involve thousands, potentially millions of dollars. where a felony prosecution might be appropriate. we are not saying we should only have a felony capability, but we think that we should have a felony capability in addition to the misdemeanor capability that we already have that would take into account the nature of the crime we are looking at. >> according to world customs organization, the international sale of counterfeit goods is a multibillion dollar industry.
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many of the sales are increasingly made over the internet where criminals are -- can hide their identities. -- where criminals can hide their identities and elude capture. what steps has the department made to educate the public on the safety and security risk posed by these illicit sales? >> posed by the ill listet -- >> -- illicit -- >> what steps has the department made to educate the public on the safety and security risk osed by illicit sales of internet theft property? >> the -- that is a problem that we have tried to really focus on in terms of educational efforts. ere are medicines that are
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stolen, intellectual property stolen that put the public health at risk. we have found in some of our tried to do we have as part of our enforcement effort is educate the public and business about the dangers that flow from the theft of intellectual property. >> are there increasing indications of links between this problem and terrorism? have you found any of those links? would you describe those for the committee? >> i think that's actually a very good question. i think it's something that's very worrisome. as we saw organized crime get into a variety of businesses in order to support their efforts, we are now seeing terrorist groups getting into the theft of intellectual property. again to generate money to support what they are trying to do for their terrorist means.
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so it means we have to broaden our enforcement efforts, broaden the investigative efforts that we take to examine what are the precise reasons why people are engaging this kind of intellectual property thievery and to consider, unfortunately, whether or not there is a terrorist connection to it. but that is a relatively new phenomenon but one that we have to be aware of. >> are there steps that you would recommend that congress consider to check the growth of this industry? >> yes. this is something i think we should try to work with members of this committee and more generally members of congress about -- i am particularly concerned about the theft of intellectual property to support terrorist activities and it would seem to me that in those instances, enhanced penalties might be appropriate. so i think that's something that working with congress we should consider. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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and nico thanks you also. we yield back the balance of our time. >> very effective line of questioning, particularly on the part of nico. we are glad to have both of you here. >> mr. chairman, the press has asked what the relationship is, so just for everybody's information this is my grandson. >> a very proud grandpa as well there. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from ohio, mr. chabot, for five minutes. >> thank you. mr. attorney general, let me start with a term, tone at the top. this was a -- >> i'm sorry? >> tone at the top. this was a principal referred to in sarbanes-oxley and incorporated by ref frents in dodd-frank -- by reference in dodd-frank. do you believe the same rigorous standards of conduct and enforcement should be applied to public and private entities?
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in other words, in short, do you think the government should be hell accountable to a separate set of standards, weaker set of standards than corporations? or do you think the standards should be the same? >> i think the standards ought to be the same, although i would probably say when it comes to government given the public trust that is involved as opposed to private interest, that there are probably higher standards ought to apply to all levels of those of us who served in government. >> let me follow up with that. the person at the top in a business, i think it would probably apply to government as well. even if he or she didn't necessarily know what the people under him or her was up to can be held accountable, actually personally accountable under sarbanes-oxley, for example. even if they didn't necessarily know what the people under them were doing all the time. now, this administration currently h least three scandals swirling around it.
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one, misleading the american people on benghazi. wo, the i.r.s. discriminating, targeting conservative groups for special treatment. three, seizing the phone records of associated press reporters. i think you cane whether that's actually a scandal yet. many people are calling it that. i think all three probably are. when the story broke last week about these conservative groups being targeted by the i.r.s. for special treatment, one of the spins by this administration was, well, this was out in cincinnati. it was out there. it's not us here in washington. we didn't know anything about it. i happen to represent cincinnati in the united states congress, and i have for 17 of the last 19 years, 2008 election didn't go so well for me. i know that you are the
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commissioner of the i.r.s. and you're not the secretary of the you ry and i know that know a lot of stuff. i would like to scurks i assume you are aware that cincinnati handles exempt organizations all across the country, not just in the local area, do you know that? >> i'm not aware of that. we are at the beginning of our investigation. i don't know how the i.r.s. is constructed at this point. i take you at your word. >> now, i know that you're not at the conclusion, you got a lot to learn yet, do you think that these were just some low-level i.r.s. workers who decided to harass or examine with great scrutiny conservative groups, tea party organizations, patriot groups, 912 groups, groups who might have had tea party in their name or groups whocoerned was too big and too intrusive,
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kind of ironic, on the other hand they would allow groups that have say progressive in their names to proceed as was supposed to happen in a reasonable amount of time? do you think that these were just low-level folks? or do you think it goes higher than that? >> i simply don't know at this stage. we have not begun -- we have only bun our investigation and i think it will take us time to determine exactly who was involved in these matters. the whole notion of these 501-c-4 groups, i think some inquiry into that area is appropriate, but it has to be done in way that does thot depend on the political perfect -- that does not depend on the political persuasion of the group. >> who does the cincinnati i.r.s. answer to? >> i assume ultimately they answer to the folks here in washington. >> now, mr. sensenbrenner referred a little while ago to
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the truman's buck stops here reference. i'll conclude because i'm almost out of time. by saying i believe there's been a pattern by this administration in not taking responsibility for failures, avoiding blame, pointing the fingers in somebody else's direction. would you agree with that? >> no. >> i thought you might say that. i think a lot of people do, including myself, and i think a lot of members of this committee. we might be divided. but these are very significant things which have occurred here. i strongly encourage this administration to get out front, get all the facts out, let the chips fall where they may. i think that's in the best interest of the administration. i think it's in the best interest of the country. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i agree with the last part of your statement. it is one of the reasons why i ordered the investigation last friday because it seemed to me that there was the need for a review given the potential criminal investigations that
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exist that the justice department needed to be ahead of this matter. and i can assure you and the american people that we will take a dispassionate view of this. this will not be about parties or ideological persuasions, anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, ms. lofgren, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. attorney general, or your presence here today. i want to return to the issue of the freedom of the press. mr. sensenbrenner quoted certain sections of the code of federal regulations, but i'd like to read the beginning of that section, which says, because freedom of the press can be no broader than the freedom of reporters to investigate and report the news, the prosecutorial power of the
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government should not be used in such a way that it iairs the reporter's responsibility to cover as broadly as possible controversial public issues. this policy statement is thus intended to provide protection for the news media from forms of compulsory process, whether civil or criminal, which might impair the news gathering function. now, i realize there are exceptions and that you have recused yourself. but it seems to me clear that the actions of the department have, in fact, impaired the first amendment. reporters who might have eviously believed that a confidential source would speak to them, would no longer have that level of confidence because those confidential sources are in their to be chilled
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relationship with the press. whether or not this impairment of the first amendment was in fact justified by the criminal case before you is not something i'm sure you are at liberty to discuss in a public forum. i still don't understand, number why and how you recruit yourself. i'm concerned -- it says no subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media or for the telephone call records of any member of the news media without the expression authorization -- express authorization of the attorney general. did you delegate that expression authorization in writing to mr. cole? >> i don't think the recusal -- i don't think there is anything in writing with regard to my recusal, which is, again, not -- >> the question was what about
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the requirement in the code that approve, you have recused yourself, was that express authorization authority delegated to mr. cole? >> once i recuse myself, he does become the acting attorney general with all the powers of the attorney general. >> could you explain again or maybe you can't, let me ask a hypothetical because i realize ou can't talk about this case. the regulations say that these obtained uld not be in a compulsory manner unless -- and that there should be negotiation with the news media. unless it would impair the negotiations. now, "the new york times" has
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gotten an opinion piece today expressing the concern. how could this be the fact? the records, the telephone records would not disappear if the a.p. had been notified. they were in the possession of the phone companies. never at risk for disappearing. how could it ever be the case that the availability of this information would be impaired? >> this is both an ongoing matter and one about which i know nothing. i'm not in the position to answer that question. here's what i do think. i do think that at the conclusion of this matter, and when i can be back involved in it, that given the attention that it has generated that some kind of after action analysis would be pledge to this committeeamerica
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engage in such an analysis, but that will be after the case is done and when i can appropriately be involved in it. >> i think that is good. i wonder if we might also, mr. chairman, have mr. cole come before the committee since he's the one who knows this information. i don't know how long this case will go on. since you have recused yourself, certainly you're without being in a position to tell us that, but it seems to me the damage done to a free press is substantial. and will continue until corrective action is taken. i would hope that we might be able to further pursue this, mr. chairman, and get some clarification on future actions either through legislative efforts or through further revision of the code of federal regulation by the administration , because i think this is a very
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serious matter that i think concerns all of us no matter our party affiliation. with that i yield back. >> the comments of the the gentlewoman from california are very pertinent anti-committee would definitely be interested in the appearance of the deputy attorney general to answer questions regarding this matter. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from alabama, mr. bachus, for five minutes. >> attorney general holder, is deputy cole willing and able to appear before this committee and answer the questions that you cannot answer? >> i'm sure he would be willing to. i'm not sure he would be in the position to answer the questions because you would be asking questions about an ongoing matter. i think he would be in a difficult position to fully respond to the questions that you might put to him. >> will you urge him to make himself available? to make that a priority?
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>> will i certainly convey to him the desire that has been expressed here today. but i caution the committee that asking the lead prosecutor about a matter that is ongoing puts him in a -- >> let me ask you this. you have heard ms. lofgren. there is a very high bar before a subpoena to members of the press, because of retribution, fear of retribution. as she said, you're supposed to explore -- negotiate, and we are not aware of any negotiations. you said there were exceptions. you are supposed to try alternative sources. let me ask you this n, on what date did you re-- this, on what date did you recuse yourself? >> i'm not sure. i think it was towards the beginning of the matter. i don't know when. it was towards the beginning of the matter. >> doesn't -- isn't that sort of an unacceptable procedure that you wouldn't form late?
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the statute actually says that the attorney general shall approve the subpoena. shouldn't there have been some memorandum -- there was no when youm, no email -- recused yourself, was it orally? did you alert the white house? >> i certainly did not alert the white house. we don't talk to the white house. >> who do you recuse yourself to? >> the deputy attorney general. as i have done in other matters in the edwards case for instance. >> i understand. but do you not do that formally or in writing? >> no. >> do you see any reason for a formal or -- there be some memorandum so we know the time and date of your recusal? >> well, as i said, we have made a preliminary examination to see if there is anything in writing, but i know i have recused myself
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in matters but not in writing. >> do you think it would be the best practice to memorialize that recusal? >> i guess it might be helpful. >> it would be in this case because you apparently don't know when you recused yourself, is that correct? >> i don't know precisely. i know that as i said it was towards the beginning. investigation. >> so it was before the subpoenas. >> yeah. i don't know when the subpoena was issued. >> so it could have been after the subpoenas were issued? >> no. i certainly recused myself before the subpoenas were issued. >> did you have any knowledge -- you had knowledge there was going to be an investigation, is that correct? >> i appointed two people to lead the investigation. >> were you aware -- >> testified at that time for not appointing independent people as has been pointed out. and i pointed two good u.s. attorneys. >> at that time that you made that appointment, had there been any discussion of the press'
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involvement? >> of the president's? >> press' involvement. the investigation of the leak. you were aware there was an investigation of a leak to the press. at the time you recused yourself. >> a leak to the president? >> a leak to the press. >> i'm sorry. >> my southern is probably -- >> i'm sorry. leak to the press. >> you were aware of the involvement of the press and investigation that was -- >> sure. that was the basis of the investigation. >> so you knew at that time of the statute which authorized you and you alone to authorize subpoenas and take those actions. >> sure. >> so you could have anticipated there would be a subpoena to the press. >> not necessarily. >> all right. >> there are investigations done very frequently where interaction with the press does not occur. >> what period of time after the investigation started were
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alternative measures or negotiations with the press, but between the time of the investigation and discussion of subpoenaing press, and the time that the subpoenas were issued, what period of time was that? >> i don't know because as i -- >> no idea. >> i recused myself early on in the matter and gave a great deal of independence to the u.s. attorneys involved in these matters. they did not have to report back to washington every investigative step they were taking. >> at what point did you inform the white house, do you have any knowledge as when the white house was informed by d.o.j. they were investigate the press? >> my questions would be the white house found out about this by reading the newspapers. >> what? >> reading the newspapers or watching television. we would not have had -- >> how long before -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, for five minutes.
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ms. jackson lee: -- >> i think it's worthy to put on the record that is not enough time to be able to engage on some very important issues. i do want to take a moment of my time to be able to thank the general for one of the most passionate and driven efforts of the department of justice. we are well aware of it in texas, which is the effort of the department of justice to increase the number of human trafficking prosecutions. we are the epicenter of human trafficking in houston. you have come on more than one occasion. i want to thank my local officials and the human trafficking task force. and to indicate to you as the ranking member of the border security committee and homeland security, my chairman and myself will be embracing that topic. hope that we'll be able to join in with the efforts of the department of justice. mr. general, i appreciate that and i hope this is an ongoing effort. it is a priority for this
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attorney general, priority for this administration. secretary clinton was a big leader in this effort. i think secretary kerry will be so as well. it really involves not only the federal government, as you under kate, it really has to have a local and state connection, an international connection for us to be effective. this is an international crime. >> let me thank you very much. there is so much we can thank you for and your years of service. that should be noted when you come before a committee that has the responsibility, as you do, for upholding the laws of this nation. i'm going to have a series of questions and they are yes-no answers. i appreciate your cooperation. let me just start with the tragedy of the boston marathon. there is no doubt that we have all mourned and i think we as those who have the responsibility on this committee do well not to make this partisan, not to point the fingers, but can i ask you, can we look to, as you review the
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f.b.i. and the coordinating their investigation, which i understand is active, that we not reject the concept that it is important to connect the dots? and that as you review it that you will hold those responsible in terms of however you address it, whether it is let's do this better but for the idea of connecting the cots dots? >> i think that's vitally important and that's why the inspector general report -- inspectors general inquiry is so important. it has not only the justice department inspector general but i.g.'s from the intelligence community as well. i think we are going to have a good sense of who had what information when and whether or not it was properly distributed. >> i thank you. i'd ask the chairman of this committee that we have a full hearing on that topic alone only because as you well know, mr. general, that was put in the 9/11 report. i thank you for acknowledging that. i think that's very important. i want to move quickly to the i.r.s. report and say to you
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that the inspector general gave a number of recommendations. and if i'm reading it clearly they did not mention criminal, but i want you to be on the record, one of them was to finalize interim actions, better document reasons. i think we have all made our bipartisan statement. my point is that i understand as the president has directed secretary of treasury to act, that you have also taken this to a higher level of a criminal investigation. can you put that on the record, please? i have a series of questions see i want to -- so i want to make it clear you have not taken this likely and this is a federal criminal investigation? >> that is correct. friday of last week i ordered that an investigation, criminal investigation be begun. 8 >> do you have any limits on that? you are letting it free flow and fall where it may? >> as i indicated in response to an earlier question, the facts will take us wherever they take us. >> in testimony before the senate you were asked the
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question about the protection of the press. my recollection is you said you support it. is that the case now? >> it was when i testified during my confirmation. it continues to be something that i think that we should pass. >> let me ask unanimous consent to put into the record of letter attorney 2013, from general cole, deputy attorney general cole to mr. pruitt. ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman. >> without objection. the letter will be made a part of the record. >> which it explans expansive range, which are you not involved in, work that was done in order to get information before proceeding as they did. however will we be able to believe that the justice department still holds the protection of the first amendment in high esteem and to protect it? i'm coming with some other questions. i'm trying to get a yes or no. >> putting that case aside, it's ongoing. i was not aware of it. but the justice department has ruled in regulations that have been followed, will be followed
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billion our interaction with the press. >> mr. chairman -- >> the time of the gentlewoman has expired. the chair would advise all members of the committee we have 28 more members awaiting the opportunity to ask questions. and the attorney general will be generous with his time but he does have an obligation later today. >> i thank the gentleman for his answers. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. issa, chairman of the committee on oversight and government reform. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to start by playing a short voice recording if it omes out ok, please play it. >> brett this is tom calling you. excuse me calling you at 9:00 on -- the main thing i wanted to ask you was, i spoke to some folks in the civil division yesterday and wanted to make sure that the memo that you sent
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to the civil division. i'm sure -- it doesn't make any mention of the cases just a memo on the merits of the two cases that are under review. that was the main thing i wanted to talk to you about. i think that to use your words -- i talked to david last night. if you would give me a call. i want to confirm you got this putage and you were able to your stuff over to the civil division. >> thank you. mr. attorney general that regarding as was earl yes in my committee, oversight committee's report, is thomas perez, individual, one of your deputies, arranging for something not to be disclosed as part of his quid pro quo in st. paul. do you think it's appropriate for someone at a federal level to try to keep information out
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in order to disguise what's actually going on? i'm not sure i necessarily agree with that carkization. i'm not intimately familiar with all that happened. >> let's go through a hypothetical that is a little easier. you've got a case that's going to gain the federal, united states people $180 million. you got another case you don't want to go to the u.s. supreme court. you trade those two cases because you don't want to have that happen. then you tell somebody we'd like to keep things quiet. let's make sure we don't disclose it. is that right or wrong? >> there are a whole variety of reasons why we as a government, justice department, decide not to become involved in cases. strength of the evidence, questions of law. >> is it ok to hide a case you don't want going to the supreme court for a dollar damage case? that's the real question here. >> one has to look at this in
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its totality and decide if there was -- >> i'll take that it's yes, it's an ok. >> it was not a yefment i was trying to answer -- >> mr. attorney general, i need a yes or no before you go into the long dialogue, otherwise i'm wasting my time. there was a quid pro quo, there was a trade of $180 million worth of revenue to the american people in return for dropping a case that your justice department did not want to go before the high court, to coin the phases used, bad facts make bad decisions or bad law. i understand you didn't -- you or at least mr. perez didn't want things going to the supreme court. let's go through where we are today. >> the decision not to take over the false claims did not end the case. >> well, you may say that, but the plaintiff who saw himself abandoned didn't see it that way. let me go into anoerthinit workl was not over simply because the
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as i understand it, but the case united states did not become involved. >> the case going to the u.s. supreme court was over. >> we do not become involved in -- >> the case going to the u.s. supreme court was over as a result. >> the decision was made not to pursue that case. >> ok. so the american people were denied the highest court considering a case. that's an undeniable fact. let me go through some questions. >> that's incorrect. >> i have been working with -- >> that is a fact -- >> we'll let the people decide whether they were denied a supreme court decision. mr. attorney general, thomas perez falsely stated to our committee that he only -- he apparently had none than one then two, then 34, then 35 emails that violated the federal records act. your office has only i think yesterday or today allowed us to see in camera the two and from on these emails. we have not seen the contents.
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but in seeing the to and from -- >> mr. chairman, i have a parliamentaryry inquiry. >> the gentlewoman will state her parliamentary inquiry. >> i thank the gentleman. first of all i would like to note i have been on this committee for more than i would like to count. was there notice given of this recording to be played? i have not in the life of the time i have been in this committee heard a recording was the minority noticed on this recording? this is a hearing about mr. tom perez or question -- >> the gentlewoman will suspend. >> first i would like to note as the note been given, attorney general office been given notice -- >> the gentlewoman will suspend and the chair will answer her question. there is no requirement under the rules of the committee that a member cannot use evidence gf the committee -- evidence before the committee as part of the hearing. >> mr. chairman, if i could clarify for the gentlelady. >> i would be happy for the gentleman to do so.
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>> that recording was produced by the justice department. it is a piece of evidence that came from the attorney general. i would hope that playing back his own evidence would not be unreasonable. >> let me just, if i can continue -- >> the gentlewoman may state a parliamentary inquiry. that's all because the gentleman from california has the time. >> i do understand. i appreciate it. may i hear this again. are you saying that evidence can be presented but the question i asked was the attorney general given notice that this recording would be played? >> there is no requirement under the rules of the committee that a witness before the committee be given evidence of -- notice of evidence that may be presented to the witness at the hearing. >> continuing my further inquiry, as i think i heard the gentleman from california make a point, has this is been authenticated as the actual, true voice for the individual who is allegedly on it? >> if the gentlelady would yield . thomas perez has owned up to
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this being his voice. >> the only thing -- if i might continue -- >> the gentlewoman has not stated a valid parliamentary inquiry. and the gentlewoman will suspend and the gentleman from california will be recognized for the remainder of his question. >> mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, i ask i have two minutes to conclude. >> gentleman's time will be restored to two minutes. >> can i make a point of order, mr. chairman? >> the the gentlewoman from will state her point of order. >> mr. perez has authenticated his voice. is the general authenticating his voice by answering the question? >> the gentlewoman will suspend. that is not a parliamentary inquiry. or appropriate point of order. >> i demand regular order. >> i thank the chairman for his courtesy. >> the gentlewoman's point of order is not well taken because there is no such rule that would require this committee to treat this like we were in a trial.
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this is an opportunity for members of the committee on both sides of the aisle to ask questions of the witness and the gentleman from california will continue his line of questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general, our investigators have seen 35 of the 34 admitted emails that violate the federal records act. they have only seen the to and from, they have not seen the content. and they have not seen the remainder of the 1,200 emails. mr. cummings, my ranking member, joined in the letter, requesting that we have the full contents pursuant to our subpoena of all 1,200. will you make them available to the committee based on our bipartisan request? >> will i certainly look at the request. it's not something i personally have been involved in. but i'll look at the request and try to be as responsive as we can. i'm sure there must have been a good reason why only the to and to see the details. mr. attorney general -- >> no. >> knowing the to and from.
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>> i'm not going to stop talking now. you characterized something -- >> mr. chairman, would you inform the witness as to the rules of this committee? >> it is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of congress. it's unacceptable and shameful. >> the gentleman has the time. and the gentleman may ask the questions that he deems appropriate. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in these emails headers, one of them was to melanie barnes, domestic policy counsel. in other words, it was to the white house. we have not seen the contents. secondly, one of the them was to sara pratt at h.u.d. that is germane to our discovery of this quid pro. more importantly it is to an a.o.l. account. communications went on between two government officials both of whom why circumventing the federal records act. additionally we learned thomas perez has yet another
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nongovernment account which he uses for government use. so in addition to his verizon account, he has an r.c.n. account. would you agree to make these -- all of this available to us since first of all it violates the federal records act and your own rules. second of all it is pursuant to a legitimate use of congress under which we would have it. and lastly, because you asked for transparency, before you answer, if you would, please, in the a.p. case you have appointed ronald manchin, u.s. attorney. i'm sure he's a fine u.s. attorney, but can he be considered to be independent when this congress held you in contempt he was the individual recused on your orders to prosecute the case? if he will obey your orders and not living up to a contempt of congress, can we believe that he is in fact independent? >> mr. chairman, i'd ask for regular order. a we have regular order. the gentleman's time has expired.
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but the attorney general is allowed to answer the question. >> it expired 45 seconds ago. >> i did not order mr. manchin not to do anything with regard -- he made the determination about what he was going to do on his own. that's not -- didn't have anything to do with that. with regard to the email request, i think that if your request is for relevant emails that have something to do with the subject matter that you are looking at, that is certainly something that i think we should consider. with regard to the entirety of his team accounts, 1,200 or 1,300, not sure of the number, if they don't have anything to do with matter at hand i'm not sure why they would be turned ver. >> mr. chairman, point of inquiry, when congress issues a subpoena and your understanding,
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is it to be determined, or the justice department issues a subpoena, is it the decision of the recipient as to what is germane or decision of the subpoenaing authority? >> that is a question beyond the scope of this hearing. >> we have a few lawyers present. >> we have many lawyers present. and certainly it's the opinion of the chair that the subpoenaing party would determine the scope. if the smonedant does not agree, it would be appropriate for a court and we hope a court will soon decide the appropriateness of that subpoena because it is very disappointing that this has not been responded to, and that the congress found it necessary to take the action that it took. the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. firstly, general, i want to thank the work of the civil rights division. i guess mr. perez was responsible for that for first working with the liberty bowl
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stadium in memphis and working out our accessible capacity feeding arrangement, and also working on the juvenile court issue where the division saw to it that our juvenile court will be a model for the nation and protect the rights of young people which was so necessary. also want to thank you for working, mr. scott and i, to see the tax division file suit that took advantage of people with fraudent tax preparations. i thank you for that. i would like to question you about a few issues that bother me. one is the former alabama governor who was the governor of alabama and probably the last democrat statewide official there in the past and maybe in the future for a long time, he tried to get a lottery in his state which i did in tennessee and i know how difficult it is, in so doing he found himself in court and convicted and in jail, and a case in which an unprecedented 113 former
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attorneys generals, republican and democrat, representing 44 of the 55 states have said his prosecution was grave injustice. all of the assistants, numerous amount of legal experts have said it was a grave injustice, and the prosecution should never have taken place because the u.s. attorney, a bush appointee, was the wife of the campaign manager of his opponent in a gubernatorial election. while she recused herself she stayed involved. i know there are procedural issues about a commutation, but the president could pardon him now. each day he's in prison in my opinion is a grave injustice because all that man did in appointing that individual to a board that he was accused of doing may have been on the state board twice before and he appointed him was politics. and i would like to ask you if you are -- sure you are aware of the case, if you can assure me you will review his case because in my opinion and the opinion of 113 former attorneys generals, and innocent man is in jail
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being grifed of liberty. >> there are procedural issues. he's not eligible to apply for a pardon. commune tation is not possible because i under-- commutation is not possible because i understand he has an active appeal. so those are the regulations under which we operate. those are potential -- those are poe -- potentially, obviously problematic with regard to the relief. >> you don't believe the president could issue a pardon now? the procedure you have-the president has no limitations. >> the president's pardon power is close to absolute. i'm talking about justice department regulations. >> is the justice department the head of your division that looks over these, mr. ronald rogers, another bush appointee, is that not correct? >> i believe he was appointed in the bush administration. > ehas been brought up by the i.g., and the i.g. has said he should be investigated because
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he gave false information on a pardon request. he misstated what was the facts. i want to know if he's under investigation and have you looked into i.g.'s suggestions about mr. rogers for misrepresenting information transmitted to the white house? >> there were some difficulties in connection. i don't remember what the individual's name was. about information that was i guess rerelayed to the white house from the pardon attorney's office. i think corrective measures have been put in place. that kind of mistake would not occur in the future. >> i hope not, sir. my concern is that there's nothing more important than liberty. even taking your liberty is probably the most harsh iest thing the government can do to a person. we have taken the liberty of this gentleman and i believe we need to look at that case. when 113 former a.g.'s and republican and democrats say it was a grave injustice, i think it needs to be looked at and tried to remedy. i think there are other cases. mr. scott brought them up. the disparate in crack and
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cocaine. we changed the law. all those people in there who served longer time than they would have under the lay, the president could commute their sentences. and one of the greatest threats to liberty has been the government taking people's liberty for things that people are in favor of. the pew research group shows that 52% of americans think marijuana should not be illegal. and yet there are people in jail and your justice department continues to put people in jail for sale and use on occasion of marijuana. that's something the american public has finally caught up with. there was a cultural lag and it's been an injustice for 40 years in this country to take people's liberty for something similar to alcohol. you have continued what is allowing the mexican cartel's power and the power to make money, ruin mexico, hurt our country by having a prohibition in the late 20th and 21st century. we saw it didn't work in this country in the 20's. we remedied it. this is the time to remedy this prohibition. i would hope you would do so. i know my time is almost gone.
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i would like to ask the chair 230r one brief moment. >> the gentleman's time has expired. and we still have more than 24 members who have not asked questions of the attorney general. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> the chair would advise members that if they have additional questions, we understand, i have additional questions, i know most members have additional questions, they can submit those to the committee in writing and we will submit all of them to the attorney general. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. forbes, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, we get the theatrics. we know we wait 650 days from the time you i.r.s. officials become aware of the abuses of the internal revenue service until the department opens an investigation. then we say we can't comment because we got investigations going. saying i can'tmentecause of ongoing investigations has kind of become the fifth amendment of politics for this administration. i want to ask you not about ongoing investigations, but what
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you know currently today as the chief law enforcement officer of the federal government, this is a picture i don't expect you to see it from where you are, tyrone woods. father gave it to me yesterday. as you know he and three other americans were brutally murdered in benghazi. many people believe because we had inadequate security or we had an inadequate response. many people are concerned, of course, of the manipulation of facts that took place after that. yet this administration to my knowledge has continued to say that there was nothing the secretary of state could reasonably or should reasonably have done to prevent those murders, and certainly she's had no personal repercussions. this is an individual i think you can see better, this is brian terry, he was brutally murdered. so were about 150 innocent mexican citizens because the fast and furious, which you have steffed about here and as far as i remember from your testimony there was nothing you felt that
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you should reasonably have done to prevent those murders, and you suffered no personal repercussions from that. just a few months ago we had someone sit right where you're sitting, john morton, the director of i.c.e., after we had the release of 2,000 illegal immigrant detainees. some of whom were being held for aggregated felonies, and we were basically told by the director that there was nothing that he should have reasonably done to stop that and he had no personal repercussions. now we have all this stuff we are hearing from the internal revenue service where we see these actions, some individuals teaching about the constitution and the bill of rights, and yet so far we have heard nothing from the administration about what they should have done to reasonably have stopped these atrocities. and certainly no personal repercussions yet. so, general, my question to you today is based on what you know today, not ongoing
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investigations that we may never conclude or we may never see or that we do see we won't have i back here, just what you know today in any of these situations is there anything that you are aware of today that any of the heads of those departments or agencies should rhineably have done to have stopped the situations that i have just outlined that took place? . >> i know that benghazi's something that i'm not as familiar with but i am familiar with fast and furious and i will tell you that with regard to that, once i became aware of it, i stopped the policy -- >> i'm saying anything you should have done to have stopped them from taking place? it's too late afterwards. i'm saying anything you should have done beforehand? >> hindsight is always 20/20. it's always accurate and it's an easy thing to stand up where you are and do that. i've got to run an agency of 116,000 people and we do it as best we can, when there are mistakes that are made we hold
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people accountable, we change policies. that is what we do in the executive branch. to the extent that there is fault, i have acknowledged that as the head of the agency, i'm ultimately responsible for that which happened in my agency. >> and i appreciate the fact that we say i'm responsible but when irresponsible actions take place, nobody has any personal repercussions on any of the situations. did any of those individuals have any personal repercussions from the actions that took place? >> yeah, there were people that we held -- >> i'm talking about the department -- the head of the agency or the department. you didn't have any personal repercussions, did you? >> i held people accountable -- >> you held people accountable. let me just say why i'm saying that. because if in fact you can't say anything that you should have reasonably done, the secretary of state should have reasonably done, the commissioner should have reasonably done, the director should have reasonably done, if there's no personal repercussions, shouldn't americans realize that the home way we can stop these abuses from happening with the
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internal revenue service from this massive amount of data they're going to get under the affordable care act, is to make sure that data never gets to the internal revenue service in the first place? because if it does and the abuse occurs, nobody's going to be held accountable at the top and also we're going to say afterwards there's nothing that we should have reasonably done to top it. mr. chairman, with that we actually have a piece of legislation we're putting in today to make sure the i.r.s. is not involved in our health care decisions and i hope we'll get it passed out of this house and hopefully the senate so we can make sure those abuses do not take place and with that i yield back, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman for his comments and the chair now recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, the issue of the a.p. investigation or actually the investigation into the illegal disclosure of classified information, to conduct that
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investigation, the justice department has various tools, among which is the subpoena and a subpoena can be issued without judicial oversight and it was through a subpoena that the justice department obtained phone records from the carrier that related to certain personnel at the associated press. is that correct? >> again, i assume that that is correct. >> a subpoena is what we know that the information was compiled from. now, we can -- or the justice department has the lawful authority by way of subpoena power to obtain those records. is that correct? >> the justice department does have that power, yes. >> so it's legal for the
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justice department to obtain that information but it certainly could cast a cool breeze over the first amendment rights of freedom of the speech and freedom of the press. and that's why we have some special rules with respect to the issuance of subpoenas by law enforcement to obtain information from media sources. that's correct, isn't it? >> yeah. i mean, again, without getting the case isn't about the a.p., it's about the people that leaked. be that as it may, there's a recognition within the justice department that in dealing with interacting with the press, that you're dealing with a special entity in that there have to be special rules about how that interaction occurs.
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>> and those rules a b of regulations. they're not by way of legislation. correct? >> that's correct. to determine whether or not we want to turn those guidelines and regulations into law. and now, you made an important distinction. you said that the crime that is being investigated, well, you didn't say this, but i'll say this, is not the publishing of the information of the classified information, but it was actually the leaking of the classified information which is the basis of your investigation. correct? >> that's correct. >> but now we also have an old law that would allow for rosecution of anyone who published the classified information. isn't that correct? >> you've got a long way to go
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to try to prosecute people, the press, or the publication of material. that's not fared well in american history. >> i would argue that the spionage act of 1917 would authorize the prosecution of anyone who disclosed classified information and perhaps that's another area that we may need in this tion on here congress. now, i note that in this congress we've been -- we've the most f bills, famous of which in my mind was the helium legislation, and we wanted to ensure that we had enough helium to keep everything moving forward here in america, but we certainly need to protect the privacy of
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individuals and we need to protect the ability of the first -- of the press to engage in its first amendment responsibilities. to be free and to give us information about our government so as to keep the people informed. and i think it's a shame that we get caught up in so-called scandals and oversight of unimportant matters when we should be here addressing these real problems that -- things like the a.p. scandal illustrate for us. i'll yield the balance of my time to you. >> i would say this. with regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that i've ever been involved in or heard of or would think be wise policy. in fact, my view is quite the opposite. that what i proposed during my
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confirmation, what the obama administration supported during 2009, and i understand i think senator shumer is now introducing a bill that we are going to support as well, that the press should be -- should -- there should be a shield law with regard to the press' ability to gather information and to disseminate it. the focus should be on those people who break their oaths and put the american people at risk, not reporters who gather this information. that should not be the focus of these investigations. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general holder, i thank you for your testimony here today and i have a number of curiosities remaining. one of them is this, are you aware of any plans or any discussion of an effort to transfer one or more detainees
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from bagram air force base to the united states for trial? >> nothing immediately comes to my mind. i'm not aware of that. >> there haven't been discussions of such a thing? and are you aware of any cases in the past where that's happened? >> that's what's giving me some pause. i'm not sure if we have brought people back from bagram or not. i just don't know. maybe i can get a written response to that. i'm not sure about that. >> perhaps i'm too precise and i should probably say the afghanistan theater instead? would that change your response ? >> i'm thinking of cases that we have brought of people here in the united states who committed acts overseas and i'm just not sure, as i think about these people, where those acts actually occurred. i'm not sure if it was afghanistan. i just don't remember. >> you understand the concept of my question? out of the theater and the global war on terror, out of the theater and the global war on terror and i use bagram
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specifically, but with regard to afghanistan or that theater of war, then you would assert that currently you're not in discussions with -- about transferring a detainee to the united states for trial? >> not that i'm aware of as we speak. i'd have to look into that and if i have a contrary answer to that i'll get you something in writing. >> thank you. i would look back on past testimony here before the committee and you and i have had a couple of discussions about the issue. this would be the third time in the course of a couple of years. and as that has unfolded before us, i would ask if you read "the new york times" article dated april 25. >> i did see it. >> and i would offer the opportunity to comment on your review of the article. >> i think that the article missed a few things that there are steps that we have in place to limit the amount of fraud that goes on there.
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both in terms of getting sworn statements from claimant, from doing audits. there are a variety of things that go -- that we have in place to ensure that the kind of fraud that was described in that article -- i think the article made the front seem more widespread than it actually is. >> what about the surplus funds that remain yet, that have apparently been budgeted for the -- i believe it's the native american case, about $400 million-plus. what would your recommendation be, to claw that money back from there rather than to distribute it to locations a that apparently don't have the ability to utilize that? >> i think, first of all, it's not going it the lawyers. there was some some miss apprehension about that. >> we understood that. $400 million would be sitting there waiting to be distributed to organizations that were supportive of native americans. >> right. and i think that's the way in which the settlement was crafted. so to the extent that these kinds of organizations can be
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found, that's where the money should appropriately go. >> wouldn't it be -- bring to your attention, though, that if you can't find a place to put the money, maybe there wasn't a level of discrimination to the level that was originally claimed, if there aren't enough claim ants? let me broaden this question a little bit and consistent with this theme. what we saw with pigford one and then pigford two, a testimony from this -- before this very committee several years ago from the head of the black farmers organization, that there were 18,000 black farmers. in one presumed that 100% of them were discriminated against and we end up with some 96,000 claims, and we have at least 15,000-plus payouts at this point and all of pigford two to be determined yet, that has over 66,000 claims within that universe, so totaling up around 96,000 altogether within black farmers, then we add to that garcia and keepsiegel and love and we see this number grow to at least $4.4 billion. i believe i quoted to you last
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time $4.93 billion. are you aware of a single perpetrator of discrimination? they all would have had to be under the payroll of the usda. you have investigated to identify a single perpetrator of discrimination against minorities or female farmers that always under the payroll of the usda? have you identified even one? >> well, there was certainly a basis for the payments and the settlements. >> that was a confession of the usda. it was a confession or stipulation of the usda back in 1996 where it game. >> there was a determination made, admissions made that in fact this kind of discrimination did occur and it was on that basis that the settlements were actually reached. >> but does that be a solve the perpetrators of $4.4 billion or more worth of discrimination? aren't they still out there? shouldn't they be dealt with? shouldn't there be a means to identify the individuals that would allegedly commit that kind of discrimination? >> the gentleman's time has expired. but the attorney general is welcome to answer.
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>> we're talking about discrimination that occurred many, many years ago in some instances. and i'm not sure that our time, our limited resources, would be well spent trying to deal with identifying those people as much as trying to make sure that people are comment cated and that -- compensated and that these kinds of actions don't occur in the future. >> thank you. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman for the question. the chair now recognizes the gentlewoman from california, ms. chu, for five minutes. >> mr. attorney general, i'd like to focus my questions on hate crimes and racial profiling. first of all, i ask unanimous consent to submit testimony from the seek coalition with over 100 members of congress regarding tracking hate crimes and these hate crimes against sikh, hindu and arab americans, for the record. >> without objection, they will be made a part of the record. >> thank you. last week an elderly sikh man dedicated to his faith and community was doing what he did every day, volunteering at his gawara, when a man viciously attacked him.
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at 82 years old, he was beaten with an iron bar, puncturing one of his lungs, fracturing his face and breaking several ribs. this is the only latest of a string of attacks on american sikhs in recent years and the last two years alone, two elderly sikhs were murdered in elkgrove, california, a sikh cab driver was assaulted in sacramento, california, a sikh transit worker was assaulted in new york city, a sikh cab driver was assaulted in seattle, washington, a sikh business owner was shot and injured in port orange, florida, and six sikhs in oak creek, wisconsin, were murdered of course in one of the worst attacks on an american place of worship since the 1963 bombing of the 16th street baptist church. the f.b.i. tracked hate crimes in form 1699. as you can see, there is no current way to document hate crimes against sikhs on this form. even though sikh americans continue to experience hate crimes at rates that are
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disproportion to their population -- disproportion at to their population. according to surveys -- disproportionate to their population. 10% of seeks believe they've been subject to hate crimes. arab americans and hint dew americans also face -- hindu americans also face hate crimes. if anyone were to look at f.b.i. data today it would be as though sikhs, arab americans and hindus did not exist. we have asked for revisions to form 1699 and there are 135 members of the u.s. congress that have signed onto this as well as the civil rights division and community relations service of the u.s. department of justice. in supporting revisions to form 1699. can you tell us what the status of this is so that hate crimes against these populations can finally be tracked? >> we agree with what you are saying. the department recommended to what's called the advisory -- advisory policy board last year that the ucrb -- u.c.r. be
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amended to other categories in the ethnicity and race section that. board is supposed to meet again in june of next month, next month. where it will consider those potential changes. before they make them to the f.b.i. directory. but it would be my strong recommendation that the form be captures that it anti-muss -- anti-muslim, anti-middle eastern violence. >> i truly appreciate that. and i'd also like to ask about racial profiling. immediately after the boston bombing, fears of racial profiling in the investigation by broader communities surfaced. the first person of interest following the bombing was a saudi arabian student who was tackled by a fellow bystander because to them he looked suspicious. he was questioned in the hospital after suffering severe burns from the bombing and had his apartment searched. but it turns out he was a victim of a bombing, not the
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perpetrator. we've also seen other instances of racial profiling by law enforcement, our nation's airports, at the border, at nypd and other local and state law enforcement. d.o.j.'s existing guidelines on racial profiling were issued in 2003. it outlines provisions to ban racial profiling but includes broad exceptions. it also does not apply to profiling based on religion or national origin. and it has allowed profiling against arab americans, american muslims, american sikhs and immigrants and it also does not apply to state and local law enforcement. and also lacks a meaningful enforcement mechanism. this guidance on racial profiling from the d.o.j. hasn't been updated in a decade . i know that you're reviewing this guidance but what is the status of your review and when will you issue a new guidance to prohibit profiling based on religion and national or jained
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address my other concerns? >> racial or ethnic profile something not good law enforcement. it's not good law enforcement. in fact, if you look at al qaeda, what they try to do is find people who they identify as having clean skins. to try to get past our intelligence and security apparatus. the matter as you said, the policy is under review. i have a meeting as recently as i think the week before last so i think we are at the end stages of that review process and i would expect that we will have what the product of that process is in a relatively short period of time. this is something that is actively under review that i have been personally involved in. >> thank you. and i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentlewoman. and the chair now recognizes the gentleman from arizona, the chairman of the subcommittee on constitution and civil justice, mr. franks, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general, we're glad to have you here today.
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i'm going to kind of shift gears here a little bit and be a little bit philosophical and kind of reflect on the notion as to why we're really all here today and why we're really all here in this place. i think, as i noticed earlier, that mel watts' little grandchild was symbolic in what we try to protect in the future. i have a little boy at home, 4 years old, and i think it's very important that we keep a statesman's eye on the future and recognize with all the politics that are inevitable that we need to keep an eye on why we're all here. this notion of america that all of us are created equal, that all of russ god's children and should be protected is a pretty important thing. and i know as the nation's chief law enforcement officer in a sense that occurs to you as well. and it just seems to contrast pretty significantly with what we heard here the last few
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months about a guy named kermit gosnell who ran an abortion clinic and aborted late-term babies and if they survived, he would proceed to cut their spines with scissors. and somehow i don't know when we are going to ask ourselves if that's who we really are. i suppose the unique thing about it is that it's not all that unique. while we might sanitize the clinics and other places, about 18,000 babies a year, 20 weeks or older, are aborted in this country. and that's a quote. there are about 44,000 abortion survivors living in the country today. so this is not as unique as it might be and though we might sanitize the clinics in the future, i don't know how we can sanitize the horror and inhumanity that is forced upon these little babies. now, i guess my first question
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would be along the lines of where is our president on this subject, but unfortunately i already know that answer. he voted against the born alive infant protection act when he was in his home state several times. and so i already know where he is. so the question today is, as a law enforcement officer, we've passed the border-life protection act on a federal level and it says the words person, human being, child, an individual, should include every infant member of the homosapiens species who is born alive at any stage of development. i'm almost to my question. but i will just remind you that there was a lady named ashley waled win that worked for kermit gosnell and she described one of these little babies that was breathing. she described it around two feet long. who because of the processdi't eyes or mouth but was making
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this little screeching noise. she said it sounded like a little alien. sometimes i just wonder if we really could back up as a society and ask ourselves what it's going to do to take to change our mind on some of these kind of tragedies. so my question to you, and it's a sincere question and i hope you take it so, in 2002 congress enacted the born alive protection act and it provides that all federal protections, including from your office, sir, for persons apply to every infant born alive. so, will you enforce the infant distribute born alive infant protection act as attorney general and will you consider carefully what's happening in clinics across the country like happened at the clinic that kermit gosnell ran? >> like you, i share the -- many of the concerns that you talked about. i'm a father. i have three kids.
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and i am interestingly married to a woman who is a gynecologist. very accomplished in her field. i have responsibilities as attorney general to enforce all s that congress -- >> have you ever enforced this law even one time? >> i don't know -- >> will you get back to us on that? you have ever enforced the born alive infant protection act one time? >> we examine that and see whether the u.s. attorneys, since the law was passed in 2002, what the -- how many prosecutions there have been under that law. >> there's been 18,000 opportunities a year since then, approximately, so i'm just wondering if you've even enforced it once. >> i don't know whether there was enforcement during the bush administration or the obama administration since the passage of the law in 2002. i just don't know the statistics for it. >> ok. well, you the mantra so often that somehow this is choice. but to stand by in silence
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while the most helpless of all children arer to to usly and agonizingly dismembered day after day after day, year after year, mr. general, is quite honestly a heartless disgrace that really can't be described by the vocabulary of man and i hope you consider that carefully, sir. >> the chair thanks the gentleman for his line of questioning and comments and now recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. deutch, for five minutes. >> i thank you, mr. chairman. in today's hearing some of my colleagues have brought up the news that the i.r.s. engaged in allegedly improper targeting of certain groups baseden on their political persuasions. the revelation obviously is disturbing because any display of political bias by the i.r.s. is outrageous. as the f.b.i. carries out the department of justice's request into inquiry on possibly criminal activity at the i.r.s., it is absolutely imperative that those responsible are held accountable.
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however, my hope, mr. attorney general, is that the inquiry into potential criminal activity will generate another policy debate that this scandal beckons us to have here in congress. a debate that we need to have is whether there are too many groups of all political persuasions across the political spectrum that improperly seek tax-exempt stat from us the i.r.s. by claiming that they are social welfare groups. since the supreme court's citizens united decision, the number of groups applyinger to this has doubled. in 2010 the number of c-4's registered with the i.r.s. jumped to over 139,000, up from just 2,000 the year before. that's because these so-called social welfare organizations don't have to disclose their donors, they can still maintain 501-c-4 status. in 2012 when a record $1.28 billion was spent by superpacs and outside groups to influence the election, and a quarter of that money cannot be traced to
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any source, the evidence shows that many of the c-4's are being established for the sole purpose of funneling unanimous cash to superpacs. now, the i.r.s. should not automatically accept all applications for tax exempt status when groups are increasingly being established sfor the -- for explicit political purposes. so as part of the investigation, part of the discussion, we need to know whether the tax exempt status of any c-4, whatever its politics, was either denied or revoked not because of politics but because they're ripping off taxpayers by gaining this tax-exempt status. of course the american people should be outraged that the i.r.s. employees would scrutinize specific groups based on political affiliations but i'm sure that my colleagues will all agree that the american people, the hardworking taxpayers of this nation, should also be outraged that they are likely subsidizing tax breaks for the makers of the malicious superpac ads that poison our airwaves during the 2012 election system.
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the american people were disgusted by these ads but to think they might have been subsidized by the american taxpayers, that too i would suggest is a scandal. w, 50 years ago, general holder, 50 years after the supreme court's seminal decision in gideon, recognizing the provision of counsel for indent -- indigent defendants, the system is in crisis. crisis isn't well documented by the a.b.a., national association of criminal defense lawyers, legal scholars and other organizations. in fact, you've spoken extensively on the indigent defense crisis facing the nation. the current statutory authority under 42 u.s. code 14141 in which the d.o.j. has -- can seek remedies for a pattern of practice of conduct that violates the constitutional or federal statutory rights of children in the juvenile justice system can provide an important tool to encourage systemic reforms that protect the right to counsel for
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indigent adults as well. as you're aware, in december of last year, d.o.j. reached a landmark settlement agreement with the juvenile justice court of memphis that will lead to major reforms in the juvenile justice -- the court system there. the agreement was reached with the county and will implement many of the a.b.a.'s 10 principles of the public defense and delivery system to ensure that a system is in place that will protect the constitutional right to counsel for children in the juvenile justice system. on april 26, 2012, the department issued a report of findings describing the numerous failures to protect the constitutional rights of juveniles, the juvenile court of memphis and she'll by county responded to the report by beginning to voluntarily institute reforms of their system and indicating they would promptly correct the violations identified in the d.o.j. report which resulted in this comprehensive settlement agreement and i want to commend you and your staff at d.o.j. for all of their hard work in this case, to ensure the constitutional right to counsel for juveniles is protected.
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this landmark settlement agreement was made possible by your department exercising its authority under 42 u.s. code section 14141, the department's been conducting similar investigations and has found numerous violations in the juvenile justice system elsewhere. but i'd like to ask you, since i along with ranking member bobby scott have introduced h.r. 1967, the right to counsel and taxpayer protection act, which would permit the d.o.j. to seek similar remedies for patterns of practice of conduct to violate the constitutional rights to counsel for adults in the criminal justice system, whether you think the effectiveness of the section for juveniles would also be helpful to provide the kind of -- take the kind of action that was taken there at this time to help adults. >> i think that your focus on this issue is right. your time is limited with focusing on this whole question of i think, is precisely what we should be
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about. it's something that i've tried to focus on as attorney general. we started in the justice department and access to justice office. i think the legislation that you were talking about is something we'd like to work with you on. because i think the need is there. with regard to the first part of your question, the whole question of these 501-c-4's, we're going to be very aggressive, appropriately aggressive and we will let the facts take us where they may with regard to the potential problems that existed at the i.r.s. but i think that should not detract us as a nation from asking the broader question that you raised and that is about 501-c-4's. this is irrespective of whether you're left, right, progressive, conservative, republican, democrat. the use of the tax code in the way that it potentially seems to have been used is something that i think we need to ask ourselves about and i would
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hope that what we are going to do in our criminal investigation will not have a chilling impact on asking that question about 501-c-4's. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, for five minutes. >> thank you. the holyland foundation trial that occurred in dallas, convictions obtained in 2008, there were boxes and boxes of documents that were provided to the people that were convicted of being -- of supporting terrorism and i would like to ask again for congress to be allowed to have copies of the same things the people supporting terrorism got before they were convicted. will you provide those documents without us having to go through a formal subpoena process? the very ones they got.
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>> again, i have this note here because i asked this question. we did in fact promise you access to those documents that were made public in the case but what my people tell me is we never heard from your staff to make those arrangements. we'll promise to make them available to you. i ask to have your staff contact mine. >> we'll work that out. >> we'll make that happen. >> also you'd mentioned that the f.b.i. did a good job in following up the lead from the .ussians about tamerlan do you know what questions the f.b.i. agents asked of tamerlan to determine he wasn't a threat? >> i don't know the specific questions. >> do you know if they would have asked who his favorite islamic writer was or are they llowed to ask those questions? >> i know -- >> either you know or you don't know. were they allowed to ask who his favorite imam was?
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were they allowed to ask about the mosque he was attending at cambridge or had been in in boston what from what i understand? were they allowed to ask those questions? >> i know a good deal of what was asked about him in connection with the interaction that occurred. but that is potentially part of this ongoing case. and that is why i'm a little hesitant. >> well, it's also, in trying to determine how the f.b.i. blew the opportunity to save people's lives by accepting the russian information and following up on it. because what we have dealt with, and it shouldn't have been classified but the information being purged from f.b.i. documents has been classified and i've reviewed that information, i'm aware of what has been purged in the efforts to avoid offending anyone who is islamic, i'm not
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concerned about offending anybody that wants to blow us up, but i am concerned about religious freedom which is another topic with the i.r.s. but were you aware of the cambridge mosque where tamerlan was attending back at the time that the russians gave us that information? >> not at that time. >> all right. let me tell you, he was attending a mosque in cambridge and obviously if you're not sure about that, you would probably not have had anybody provide you the organization papers for the islamic society of boston that was also the founder of the mosque in cambridge. mudi who i'm a sure you know is doing 23 years in being involved with terrorism, also working with the clinton administration back before he was arrested and then convicted and sent to prison for 23 years. but he started that mosque. what kind of follow-up was done
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on the mosque at cambridge and the mosque at boston where you had a convicted terrorist that was involved in the organizing? do you know what they did about it? >> i can say at this point, i think what the f.b.i. did in connection with the information that they received was thorough. the questions of the inspector general -- >> thorough is an opinion. i'm asking if you knew specifically about the mosque at cambridge, who founded it, that a terrorist founded it, the one that he attended? it sounded like from your answer you feel satisfied it was thorough, but you don't really know what they looked at . so let me move on then. >> my answer to the question is that the f.b.i. as i said i think was thorough. but there was -- there were problems that were not of the f.b.i.'s making with regard to their -- >> look, the f.b.i. got a heads up from russia that you have a radicalized terrorist on your
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hands. they should not have had to give anything else whatsoever. that should have been enough. but because the political correctness, there was not a thorough enough examination of tamerlan to determine this kid had been radicalized. and that is the concern i have. on the one hand we go after christian groups like billy graham's group, we go after franklin graham's group, but then we're hands-off when it comes to possibly offending someone who has been radicalized as a terrorist and i appreciate ms. chu's comment, there were people concerned about possible profiling, but i would submit, attorney general, there were a lot more people in america concerned about being blown up by terrorists and i regret very much my time has expired. >> let me just say. this you've made statements as matters of fact. >> you point out one thing that i said that was not true. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the attorney general may -- >> mr. chairman, i would ask a
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point of personal privilege. he said i said something is fact that he doesn't believe was. i'd like to know specifically what it was so that i -- >> regular order, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from texas should suspend because the attorney general has the opportunity to answer the question. once he's completed the question, if the gentleman has a point of personal privilege he can exercise it but at this point the attorney general gets to answer. >> the only observation i was going to make is that you state as a matter of fact what the f.b.i. did and did not do and unless somebody's done something inappropriate, you don't have access to the f.b.i. files. you don't know what the f.b.i. did. you don't know what the f.b.i.'s interaction was with the russians. you don't know what questions were put to the russians, whether those questions were responded to. you simply do not know that. and you have characterized the f.b.i. as being not thorough or taken exception to my characterization of them as
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being thorough. i know what the f.b.i. did. you cannot know what i know. that's all. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and that is simply the reason -- i did not assert what they did or did not do. i asserted what -- my point -- i cannot have -- >> regular order. >> -- challenge my character. >> mr. chairman. regular order. >> -- without having to respond to that. >> the gentleman is -- if the gentleman believes that he has a point of personal privilege, he can state it. >> mr. chairman, i have a point of personal privilege. he said that i do not know that of which i spoke as being true and the attorney general is wrong on the things that i asserted as fact and he has to understand the reason i ask questions specifically about what the individual tarmer land was asked, was so that i would find out and the attorney general then sits there and acts like -- >> mr. chairman, i would assert the same regular order that i
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did the first time. >> the gentleman -- >> mr. chairman, i would still point out regular order. >> the gentleman from texas will suspend. >> all right. >> the gentleman's characterization of the attorney general's answer is not appropriate exercise of the of gentleman's right of personal privilege. the gentleman may complete his statement and then we'll move on. >> thank you. the attorney general made statements that what i said was the rue, when actually reverse is what happened. i asked the attorney general -- >> mr. chairman, regular order. >> -- personal privilege and then the gentleman -- >> it's not a point of personal privilege. >> yes, it is. so when you attack somebody's integrity and say they made statements that were not true, then of course that is -- raises a point of personal
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privilege. but the attorney general failed to answer my question -- >> the gentleman will suspend. >> regular order, mr. chairman. -- aspersions on my asparagus. >> the gentleman has said his point of privilege. he doesn't have the opportunity to characterize the answer of the witness. so, the time of the gentleman -- >> all i was saying for the record is that the congressman could not know, unless as i said something inappropriate has happened with regard to the -- >> unless the attorney general -- the gentleman will suspend. >> -- answers my questions as i asked. >> the gentleman will suspend. >> he can not know the answer -- he could not know -- there couldn't be a basis for the assertions emaking. not the questions but the assertions that he made unless he was provided information and i would say inappropriately from members of the f.b.i. or people who were involved in the very things that he questioned me about. and i do not think that that
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happened. >> both the gentleman from texas and the attorney general have their -- have had their opportunity to clarify their positions and we will now turn to the gentlewoman from california, ms. bass, who is recognized for five minutes. >> let me just begin by thanking the attorney general for your patience. because it seems to me every couple of months we go through this exercise with you and i appreciate your patience. i have three questions. one, i want to join others in expressing concern and frankly condemning what i understand as the targeting of conservative groups by the i.r.s. frankly, it brought back memories from several years ago when i remember liberal groups being targeted and it was before my time in congress, but i certainly remember when african-american churches were targeted by the i.r.s. and it frankly sent a chill through the community. i wanted to know if during that time, if an investigation was done and if so what was the result and what were the consequences? >> i'm unaware of any -- i
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don't know what happened with regard to those matters. >> i think it would be interesting to find out if investigations had been done because the way i am hearing this characterized, it was as though this is the first time the i.r.s. has done something like this and i certainly remember very well this happening to liberal groups. my second question is, if congress had passed the free flow of information act in 2007, how would the situation have been handled with the associated press? >> i'm not familiar with the free flow of information act. all i can say is that i know with regard to the shield law, that we proposed, that there were greater protections that would have been in place for members of the press. though as some have noted there was a national security exception. t i t t in the view of the administration, that a shield law should still be something that we work on together and that we can craft
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a national security exception that would give the press adequate protection while at the same time keeping safe the american people. >> what happened to the shield law? >> excuse me? >> what happened to you to it? you said -- the shield law? >> it was proposed and then it was never passed. i don't think it ever really seriously was considered. but it was pushed. i certainly talked about it during my confirmation hearings and i think during my first hearings as attorney general, the president was behind it. but it was never passed. >> so had that been passed it would have alleviated the situation that we just experienced with the associated press? >> again, i'm recused from that case but i think it would certainly have had -- it would have had the potential to have an impact on all national security storesy -- stories. >> switching subjects completely. and talking about trafficking. an area that i'm very interested in, in working on child welfare issues, is the trafficking and particular sex trafficking of minors who were
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in the child welfare system and i wanted to know if anything is being done at the federal level to ensure that youth that are designated as victims in juvenile courts are treated as victims as opposed to criminals. and i wanted to know if given the existing federal law, included in the trafficking victims protectio can we work with local jurisdictions to ensure that youth do not have criminal records due to their victimization? >> i think that's actually very important and i think that what we need to do is come up with mechanisms by which we identify best practices. also, you know, in spite of sequestration, we come up with ways in which we allow -- which we provide local and state jurisdictions with the necessary funds perhaps to reform their systems. because the reality is that too many young people who are victimized in the way that you have described, can be characterized as criminals, as prostitutes, when in fact they
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are simply victims. you would hope that prosecutors would exercise appropriate discretion and charge only the appropriate people. but that is not always the case and that's why the identification of best practices and raising the sensitivity of people who exercise that discretion is so important. and i think that the federal government should take the lead in that, given that human trafficking generally is something that we have identified as a priority and sex trafficking of minors specifically as a priority. >> and maybe i can work with your office in the future because i frankly think that no juvenile should ever be arrested for prostitution. i don't know how you can prostitute if you're under the age of consent. to me that would be rape and maybe there's a way that we can change it so a child is never charged with that. >> i think i would look forward to that. there's absolutely going to be serviced that need to be made available to -- services that need to be made available to such a juvenile but that does not mean that that juvenile
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should have to get them as a part of being a part of the juvenile justice system, with all the stigma that is therefore attached to that treatment. >> absolutely. and then finally, what is the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention doing to prevent now on the foster youth from enter the criminal justice system, so i'm not referring to trasksing, i'm referring to what's known as crossover youth. >> crossover youth meaning crossing from the dependency to the delinquency system so the question is, what is the office of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention doing to prevent this? >> again, we are identifying best practices, we make grants, we hold conferences. it's one of the things that sequestration, when we talk about cutting back money, and cutting back on conferens, understand that. but one of the things that ojjdp does so well, the office of justice programs, does so well is through conferences, is
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bring together people to talk about these kinds of issues, identify best practices, and then come up with determinations as to how we're going to -- what practices we're going to fund. so that is what ojdp is doing in that regard. we're always trying to find best practices, identifying negative practices that are occurring, and then trying to support those things that are occurring and that are in the best interests of our children. >> the gentlewoman's time has expired. >> thank you. >> if she has additional questions, please submit them for the record and the chair now recognizes the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan, for five minutes. >> you announced last friday a criminal investigation into the i.r.s. i really only have one question. will you assure congress and the american people that your investigation will not impede or slow the investigation congress is doing into the internal revenue service? here's why i'm concerned.
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we have heard you today say we lost track, we're actually keeping track, we started to have a taly, how many times you said ongoing investigation. but the one that comes to mind for me is solid la -- solyndra. i would argue that that investigation has netted nothing, no new information to congress, and has only impeded and slowed down our investigation into that company that went bankrupt and lost taxpayer money. next we're chairman issa has announced lowest learner and three other witnesses will be in front of the oversight committee next wednesday on the i.r.s. issue. i know for a fact lois learner lied to me, she lied to our personal staff, she lied to committee staff, she lied in cords to mr. issa and myself that we had sent her written correspondentents and because there's now a criminal investigation, next week when lois learn who are lied to congress and therefore the american people, comes in front of our committee, for us to get information about what took place at the i.r.s., is she just going to throw up her hands and say, you know what?
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attorney general, the department of justice is doing a criminal investigation, i can't really comment now? and i think that is a concern that members of congress have and certainly the american people. so again, will you do everything you can and what assurances can you give the united states congress that that in fact is not going to take place? >> i think the responsibility i have is to investigate violations of the law. and i think what we will try to do is to work with congress so that we don't get in your way, you do not get in our way. but -- >> the point is it's already happened. it's happened with other issues. and this is the big one. this is people's first amendment rights being violated. we want to know, what are you going to do different this time? and let's just be frank, mr. holder. you don't have all that much credibility. there's lots of folks on this panel, i'm not one of them, but there's lots of folks here who have called for your
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resignation, you've been held in contempt and a host of other things. that's why this question is of paramount importance. >> your characterization of mrs. learner of lying before congress, by itself, forget about the investigation -- >> we'll be happy to show it. we want her to be able to respond to and not say, i can't comment, because mr. attorney general has a criminal investigation going. we will show that next wednesday. >> i understand that but your characterization of her testimony in and of itself, and the way you have characterized it, could, forget about our investigation, could put her in the very situation that you say you don't want to have happen. so it might not -- >> that's already out there. we have it in writing. there's no news there. it's a fact. i want her on witness stand to be able to answer our questions and what i don't want her to do is say, i can't, because a criminal investigation is going on at the department of justice. >> she could -- based on what you said, forget about the investigation, on the basis of what you said, she could say, i can't answer this because you
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thought i lied and i might be charged with a false -- >> there's a much stronger -- you know this, there's a much stronger likelihood based on what you're doing than on what i just said here. you know that's the case. >> our responsibility is to investigate violations of the criminal law. we will do that and we will try to work with congress in a way that we don't impede that which you want to do. in the same way i would hope that congress will work with us so you don't impede our criminal investigation and ultimately hold people accountable. there's a role for congress to play in exposing what has happened. but i think we have the ultimate responsibility in holding people accountable and that is something that is uniquely the ability of the executive branch to do. not the legislative branch. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and the chair now recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. richmond, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. attorney general, for coming. answer these two quick questions for me and then i'm going to what i really want to talk about.
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based on dialogue in the back and forth earlier, is there any lawful way that anyone in congress could know what was asked and not asked by the f.b.i. in their investigation before the boston bombing of those terrorists? >> there's no appropriate way i think that any member of congress could know that. >> earlier, also, a statement was made that people or the government, some of us are so worried about offending islamists, but they're not worried about offending any person that would bomb america. certainly not all islamists bomb america, right? >> no, it's a small minority of people of that faith who engage in these activities and we are not politically correct in the way in which we conduct our investigations. we go after individuals, we do not go after religiouses -- religions.
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>> the other thing, and i'm looking at the july 12 letter from then chairman of the committee, lamar smith, because i was not on the committee, but the points that strike me the most about the investigation into the leaks, which you've recused yourself, which to conduct our foreign policy and keep americans safe, some operations and sources of intelligence must be kept strictly secret, concern about these leaks no know -- know no party lines. when national security secrets leak and become public knowledge, our people and our national interests are jeopardized. and when our enemies know our secrets, american lives are threatened. goes on to say, probably the most damaging -- these leaks are probably the most damaging in america's history. was that not a call for the department of justice to do any and all things to ascertain where these leaks are coming from in our national security interests? >> i was criticized at that time for not appointing a
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special prosecutor. i said that i had faith in the justice department and in the two u.s. attorneys who i appointed to conduct those investigations and that decision was criticized as not being aggressive enough. it strikes me as interesting now a year or so later, whatever the time period is, that in some ways we're being criticized for being too aggressive. again, i don't know what happened in the case and what happened with regard to the subpoena, but there was certainly a clarion call from many that the attorney general needed to do more than he actually did. >> then there was also criticism that your subpoena was too broad. earlier today you were challenged and criticized for the fact that you said that you would answer to the appropriate things in a subpoena and the question was asserted, well, do you answer everything that the subpoena says or do you answer
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the things that are relevant to the subpoena? wouldn't that be the same irony that you can't have it both ways? >> what's interesting, i think mr. goodlatte, chairman goodlatte had it right. you can subpoena anything but that people have the right once they receive a subpoena, if they have knowledge of it, to challenge that which they are called to produce pursuant to the subpoena. >> and let me just take a second to thank the civil rights division of your office because earlier this year, and why we certainly still need the civil rights division, our chief ranking african-american on the louisiana supreme court, who by far had the tenure and hours strictly of seniority, processed to get to chief judge, was challenged by other judges and brought into court to challenge whether she could become chief justice and it was with the help of the civil
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rights division and other lawyers in louisiana that the federal judge ruled that she in fact did have the tenure. as long as we still have examples of that and we have a justice department that's willing to step up even though it may not be popular to some, but part of faith in the justice system is that laws will be applied equally, everybody will play by the same rules. and with this i'd like to close with, as ugly and nasty as fast and furious was and the uproar that followed it, which i agree with, every day in my community and communities across the country, our federal agents and others will use drug dealers as pawns to get to bigger drug dealers. and as that crack or that her win or those other drugs go -- heroin or those other drugs go back into our community and put more young kids into harm's way, i've not heard the same uproar and i would like to put that out there so while we're having an uproar about people putting things back into the
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community to get the bigger fish, please don't forget the thousands and thousands of lives and murders every year associated with the drug trade. thank you. >> time of the gentleman has expired and the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. general, attorney general, for being here. yesterday i sent you a three-page letter with seven questions on it. i know you haven't had time to go over those so i ask unanimous consent, mr. chairman, to introduce that letter with the seven questions for the attorney general into the record to be answered at some appropriate time. >> without objection, the letter will be made a part of the record and the questions will be submitted to the attorney general. >> let me approach this kind of historically, way i see things occurring. then i have two questions at he end of this dialogue. over the last several years,
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government action has become suspect to many of us. in fast and furious, government action. and we haven't resolved that yet. we're in court and we still haven't got a resolution on the issue that -- whether the subpoena should be or should not be upheld. people died in fast and furious. then there's benghazi. there's some bungling going on and what happened and who's responsible. four americans died. but government action or inaction has become -- is suspect. recently in health and human services department there's accusations of improper use by people in office of their position to obtain funds to support the new health care law. we don't know if that's true or not. but government action. and then the two that we've recently been aware of, the a.p. reporters, 100 journalists, their phone records being seized, looks
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like bruising the first amendment at least to me. and by the way yesterday i filed, mr. attorney general, the 2011 shield law -- 2007 shield law, i filed that bill as well. president obama supported that in 2007 and i hope we can get that shield law passed through both houses this time. but most recently is the i.r.s. and what's taken place with that agency. let me give you a real case a real person, a constituent of mine. katherine and her husband run a business in houston. katherine decided just as a regular citizen to get involved in voter fraud and started a group called true the vote and another group, king street patriots. here's what she said in a recent interview. quote, we apply forward nonprofit status in 2010. since that time the i.r.s. has run us through a gauntlet of
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analysts and hundreds and hundreds of questions over and over again. they requested to see each and every tweet i've ever tweeted or every facebook post i've ever posted. they've asked to know every place i've ever spoken since our nception and to whom and everywhere i intnd to speak in the future. that's part of her comments. we've learned that the i.r.s. has even asked this group and other groups for their donor lists. the federal government's snooping of her two organizations including six visits from the f.b.i., set aside the i.r.s. but six visits from the f.b.i., unannounced visits from osha and even the a.t.f. showed up several times to investigates organization. and both katherine and her husband have been personally audited and keep in mind, mr.
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attorney general, katherine and her husband have owned this family business for 20 years and never seen an audit quor until all this occurred and yet here we are today since 2010, they still don't have the tax exempt status. i've requested over the years f.b.i., osha, f.b.i., foia requests to see if they're under criminal investigation, these organizations say no, they're not, but why are they continuing to be treated like criminals. the i.r.s. response, they've now apologized. i guess they want this to go away by their apology. but meanwhile, back on the ranch, today, "usa today" reported that only one tea party group has been given tax exempt status but numerous progressive groups have been given tax exempt year, not much of a coincidence as far as i'm concerned. based on my experience, being in a courthouse, as a prosecutor,
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you as a prosecutor and a judge, it seems like government credibility, because these are goth actions, these are not private actions, these are private actions, don't you think t would be best that since now f.b.i., a.t.f., which is under the justice department, are involved in some of these accusations of harassment, unequal protection under the law, targeting specific groups because of discrimination, those are the accusations, that we should set the department aside and say, look, we're going to get a special prosecutor here to investigate all these organizations, all these department, see if they are targeting specific conservative groups, for lack of a better phrase, for their actions and to see if there's some violations, the hatch act, numerous law violations. i'm just asking you, do you think maybe that would help restore some credibility in your department if you set that aside and said, we're going to get a
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special prosecutor to clear the air and find out exactly what's going on in the government? >> i guess i would not agree with your characterization as to the lack of credibility in either the justice department or any of its components. >> i'm giving you my opinion that the justice department lacks credibility and some of these departments because of the actions by the federal authorities. that's my opinion. >> that's fine. not a fan of as a government. bill clinton said the era of big government was over, i would say the need for good government endures. >> just answer my question, i'm out of time, do you think we for a special prosecutor this? >> people talk about how government agencies do negative things and when it comes to sandy, katrina, wild fires, west, texas, then people want government there. and that's exactly my point is,
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the notion that government has or that the justice department has credibility problems, i think is belied by the notion that people, i think more generally have, of government and the good that government does. good e need for government. >> i'll have that question in writing, then. i will submit the question in writing and to the attorney general. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from washington, ms. dell bainey -- ms. delbene, for five minutes. >> a few weeks ago there were news reports about documents obtained by the american civil liberties union, aclu, that revealed internal memos that said the f.b.i. gleeved it could obtain the contents of americans' emails without a warrant if they were received or
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sent by a third party like yahoo, outlook, hotmail, gmail, do you think the government has a right to obtain emails without a warrant? authorities that we ave are, i guess, in some ways eqa, there are people who have testified on behalf of the justice department is how we update the abilities that we have so that we are -- we have the ability to conduct investigations in as quick a fashion as we can fwiven the technologies that we face. and how would we apply rules that exist with regard to obtaining information without court orders in this new era?
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and so i think that's the question we wrestle with. >> today, this piece of paper, if i had a letter here, would require a warrant for someone to have access but if it were digital, a digital email, it may not require that same warrant. so the -- we're looking whether there should be an equal playing field and whether we need to update our law, you're talking about the electronic communications privacy act, that was written in 1986, before much of the technology that many folks use today was in place. and so do you believe it's important that we update that law to reflect the way people work today and where communications work today so we have those civil liberties protected in the digital world? >> absolutely. i think we have become more and more an information society and we still have and should have expecting as of privacy however it is that we communicate.
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at the same time i want to make sure that law enforcement, in the way that it did 40 or 50 years ago, has the ability to acquire information, how we strike that balance, i think, is really important and is really one of the most important conversations i think that we can have in the 21st century and one, i think, that this administration would like to engage with congress on so that we come up with a set of rules that probably not perfect but will meet -- will meet somewhere in the middle so we have -- we can maintain privacy while at the same time maintaining that ability that law enforcement has to have. >> there's a piece of legislation that i co-sponsored along with congressman poe and congresswoman lofgren to update the electronic communications privacy act and have a warrant standard for online communications and for geolocation information that people have on their cell phones. you know, we would love to have
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support from the department of justice and yourself on those reforms as we look to update that -- the electronic communications privacy act and have. >> i snow senator leahy introduced a bill similar to that, it's something i think the department will support our only concern is with regard to making sure that in certain, very limited circumstances, that we have the ability, perhaps in civil cases or in other matters, to acquire information but the more general notion of having a warrant to obtain the content of information from a service provider is something we support. >> and the warrant standard would be the same, i know there are -- the current warrant standard for communications, there are exceptions in emergencies and other cases so we're looking to have a similar warrant standard in the online world. >> those are the -- that's what -- when i talk about the limited circumstances where we would
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want to make sure we maintain the abilities but the more general proposition that you're talking about is one that we support. >> thank you. thank you very much and i yield back the remained of my time. >> the chair very much appreciates the gentlewoman's brevity and now recognizes the gentleman from utah, mr. chaffetz, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. i appreciate you being here. i want to go back and talk about, if we could, about the investigation of general petraeus, which i understand the f.b.i. started in the sort of may-june time frame. when did you first learn about the investigation into general petraeus? >> i'm in the sure -- i'm not sure. some months, i think, a couple of months after it began. >> the news report says that happened sometime in the summer, would that be a fair, accurate representation? >> i think that's probably right. >> do you know when general petraeus was note fid or had any
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sense that he was under investigation? >> i have to go back and look. i don't know when he was actually made aware of it by, i think, as a result of an f.b.i. interview, i think, but i'm not sure when that happened. >> do you have any idea when he would have become aware of it? i see that somebody is trying to hand you something. do you have a sense as to when he became aware of it? >> we'll look -- this says we'll look into it and get back to you. i don't know. i just don't know when exactly all these things -- >> one of the questions and criticisms here of your actions on this is that you knew about this in the summer and yet when did you -- when did you notify the director of the national intelligence, mr. clapper? >> i don't remember when that happed i knew about it for a while before he was notified, i don't know exactly what the time frame was. >> and when was the president of
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the united states notified? again, i'much later, not sure exactly but i remember ate fall, perhaps even early winter. again, we'll look for the exact. >> i appreciate that. i'm asking you dates but the concern is that you, for months, based on that timeline and i recognize it's loose here, but for months you knew about it but you didn't notify the president of the united states. why is that? >> because it was an ongoing criminal investigation. >> you don't think there was any national intelligence -- was there any national intelligence ramification? >> not on the basis of what we were investigating. if we had thought, if had th that what we were looking at potentially would have been compromising of general petraeus or would have led to a national security
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problem or breach -- >> look, according to the congressional research service, let me read it from their report in april, while the extra marital affair itself is not classified as an intelligence actitytivity, the investigate started with the potential hacking of general petraeus' email account, an act that could compromise national intelligence. he was not the head of fish and wild life, he was director of central intelligence, why would you not tell the president of the united states? >> as we talked about it at the f.b.i. and justice department, we did not think we had a national security problem or potential national security problem. >> but why were the f.b.i. investigating? it's not just an extra marital affair, that doesn't rise to the level of f.b.i. involvement, there certainly had to be some suspicion that there was some national intelligence implications?
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>> well the investigation began, as i remember, because of complaints that one party made against another about the use of computers and threats. that's how the investigation -- >> but when it involved the director of the central intelligence agency, senator feinstein, the chair of intelligence, said, quote, this is something that could have affected national security, i think we should have been told, end quote. thenot notify under the law proper authority here's in the united states congress, specifically the head of the intelligence committee and why not notify the president of the united states? >> again, as i said, there is a strong tradition and concern within the justice department not to reveal, and the f.b.i., not to reveal ongoing criminal investigations but i think we were sensitive to the possibility of a national security concern but did not think that one existed and as we looked -- >> but why not share that with the president of the united states? d you not trust him with that
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investigation? -- information? i would think that's the one person who should absolutely know what's going on. if there was a potential that our director of the c.i.a. had been compromised why not share that with president obama? >> because as i said, we don't share congoing criminal investigations. if you look back, the conclusions that we reached in fact were correct, we did not have -- >> is this an ongoing investigation? >> it's an ongoing investigation. >> the time of the gentleman has expired the chair thanks the gentleman for the line of questioning and now recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. garcia, for phi minutes. -- for five minutes. >> thank you for being here, thank you for your time today and thank you for your long and distinguished career. my first question and i know you've answered some of this but maybe in a less hostile environment it will give you an opportunity to dazzle with your brilliance and personal knowledge. i am -- i, unlike the majority
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here, know mr. tom perez and known him for many years as a dedicated public servant. a few years ago we began a confirmation hearing for mr. perez, a duty and responsibility that was beyond the per view of my office but -- the purview of my office but nonetheless we participated. i would like to hear from you as someone who worked with mr. perez closely in his capacity in your office if you could tell us about him and your view on him as labor secretary. >> i think he is uniquely qualified for this job given his experience in maryland in a similar position, given the way he has distinguished himself over a long and storied public service career, certainly with regard to the way in which he has conducted himself as assistant attorney general showin himselfbe class people. he's a person who i think as the ability to see both sides of an issue, he is not an ideologue as he has been portrayed.
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he is both a good lawyer, i think a loyal public servant, who i think will distinguished himself if he is given the opportunity to become our next secretary of labor. i have twoe is on immigration and thank you for addressing comprehensive immigration reform in your comments. i've noticed as someone who has been around immigration and worked with the immigration service that the rules that we've created have sort of bound us in certain circumstances and in -- to some degree has limited the discretion of our immigration judges which are overworked but sometimes don't have the legal ability or the ability to resolve many case which is seem to be simple. if we could get your opinion on returning some of that discretion to the immigration judges. >> i served for five years as a
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judge here in washington, d.c. and we put a eaf effort into finding the people to serve on our courts, in our immigration courts, and i think that they should have requisite amounts of discretion so they can decide what justice is in a particular case. what's justice for the person who is in front of them? obviously they're constrained by rules, regulations and laws uh but -- and law, but within that range i think judges should have discretion, perhaps a greater degree of discretion, immigration judges should have a greater degree of discretion than they presently have. we do a good job of selecting who these people are and we should trust in their abilities and their ability to use their discretion appropriately. >> let's stay on that real quick and then i'll close. i wanted to ask you about the cuts that sequestration has had on immigration, the impact it's
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d, i think it's reducon of about $15 million in funding for immigration review. could you tell me a little bit about what impact that's had on an already overburdened case loads and has that led to prolonged detention which adds a further burden to tax payers? >> yeah, we just have numbers here. there is -- there are serious problems with regard to this whole question of sequestration. the immigration docket has gone up every year. the resources that we need to deal with that rise have to be dealt with and sequestration runs in the opposite direction where we are actually taking resources away from a growing problem. if you look at the immigration bill, there is contained within it a provision for an enhanced number of -- a greater numb of immigration judges, the president's budget for 2014 asks
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for more immigration judges to handle the problems of this -- of the gring docket. sequestration -- of the going docket. sequestration -- hoff the growing docket. sequestration is something more than people getting on an airplane and getting to their destination on time. it has a variety of areas that are my responsibility. in the immigration force with regard to the f.b.i., the d.e.a. agents being on this streets doing the things the american people expect, we've had problems in 2013, the department has far fewer people than it did in 2011 when we put into place a freeze. this is going to have an impact. you will see that two years from now, two and a half or three years from now, lower numbers out of the justice department. some attorney general perhaps
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will be criticized for that and it will be a function not of lack of desire and dedication on the part of the people of the justice department but simply because there are fewer of them. >> thank you, general. i yield back the balance of my time. ? the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. me reno, for five minutes. -- mr. merino for five minutes. >> let's focus on the boston terrorist defendant while he was on the -- while he was in the ospital if you would please. why were charges filed at that particular time rather than waiting on the public exception of miranda? i understand there was about 16 hours and then charges were iled, certainly the magistrate doesn't have a way to do that, charges had to be filed, he was
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in the hospital so the magistrate was brought there and a public defender was brought there why did you make the decision to file at that time? >> there are rules that we have, the supreme court has said that with regard to detention you've got -- the limit is 48 hours to bring charges. and what we did there was to do things that are, i think, consistent with the rules while at the same time, without getting into too much, while at the same time using the public safety exception in the best way we could. >> i don't want you to get into anything that would jeopardize this prosecution but there was time, you could still have used the public exception rule to allow the f.b.i. to interrogate this individual before mirandaizing. do you agree with that? >> yeah, the justice department and the f.b.i. agents never mirandaized -- >> that's not my question. i know they didn't mirandaize
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him because they didn't have to because of the exception but it seemed to me there was a rush to file the charges that would then force the magistrate to inform the defendant of his rights. why did you not let that time run longer so the f.b.i. could question him? >> the charges were filed at about -- from the time of capture, i guess, capture, about 46 hours after that. so that is -- >> but that's a benchmark, correct? the 46 hours is a benchmark. i read a case where it has been days, where the exception has continued. was that discussed with director mueller? did he know prior to that that charges were going to be filed? >> yeah, we worked with the f.b.i. both in washington and in boston. everybody was acare. and the local folks as well. everybody was acare of how we were going to proceed. >> why weren't state charges
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filed? then you have more time to question them individually before you had to file federal charges. as a federal prosecutor, we use these tools to our advantage. >> after the bombing, the decision was made, and i think correctly so, the joint terrorism task force got together and made a decision that this was going to be a federal matter a federal investigation and federal rules applied. >> let's switch gears to your recusal in this other situation. i got into a little argument with justice department on the cases where i not only recused myself but i wanted my entire office refused -- recused. you're in a little different predicament here but i always followed it up with written documentation, a letter saying why i'm recusing myself, making sure there's a paper trail from here to yesterday filed in my office and with swrussties department are you saying there's no paper trail here when
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you recused yourself and for what reasons? >> i don't think there is. as i said, that is something we were looking for and nothing has been found. i'm not sure somebody else raised that point. as i've thought about it, actually during the course of the hear that might be a better policy to have in place. >> i would think so. to have those documents in place. you also have the authority to appoint special prosecutor, whether it's another sitting u.s. attorney or someone outside of the justice completely, you have the deputy who made -- who gave the approval but yet is heading the investigation. don't you think there's a conflict of interest there and someone else should be apointed to handle this matter? >> i'm not trying -- somebody other than the deputy should be handling this? >> yes. as far as the investigation is concerned. >> ok, well i made the determination and was criticized at the time for maybing the determination that the prosecutors at this the u.s. attorneys in maryland and the district of columbia could
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handle these cases in a fair and appropriate way. >> i'll be the last guy to criticize you about a u.s. attorney handling the case no matter where he or she is. i know the caliber of people that work at justice. be that as it may, i see my time as expired, thank you. >> the chair thanks the gentleman and recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. jeffries, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you and mr. attorney general, thank you for your testimony here today and thank you for your great service to this country. let me just first note for the record my concern as it relates to the a.p. matter that, one, the subpoenas that were issued appear to be overly broad in scope and hopefully that is something that the investigation that takes place will examine with close scrutiny and second, that i think as many of my colleagues have expressed, i'm also troubled by the fact that the negotiation or consultation with the a.p. did not occur in
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advance of the decision to issue the subpoena and hopefully that will be covered. you mentioned earlier in your testimony that racial and ethnic profiling is not good law enforcement. as you know in new york city, we're grappling with a very afwressive stop and frisk program being administered by the nypd where many of us are concerned that african-americans and latinos are being racially profiled in the context of the stop and frisk encounters. the, as you may know, more than three million stop, question, and frisk encounters have occurred in the city of new york over the last decade. and fractionly -- approximately 90% of those individuals, more than three million stop, question, and frisk encounters, are plaque and latino citizens of the city of new york are you familiar with that fact? >> yes.
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>> i think you're also familiar with the fact that according to the nypd's own statistics, approximately 90% of the individuals who possibly had their fourth amendment rights violated because they were stopped, question, and frisked without reasonable suspicion or any basis to conclude they presented a danger to anyone else, approximately 90% of these individuals did nothing wrong. according to the nypd's statistics, no gun, no drugs, no weapon new york contraband, no basis for the arrest or the encounter whatsoever are you familiar with that statist exas well? >> aye read that, i don't know about the accuracy, but i've read that. that's the nypd's own statistic. you participated in a meeting, i wasn't involved, graciously, on june 7, with members of the congressional black caucus from new york city and elected officials from many communities impacted and we're thankful you
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granted that meeting. at that meeting, there was a request that was made at the justice -- that the justice department look into what we believe is systematic racial profiling and violations of the fourth amendment that's taken place in new york city as a result of the aggressive stop and frisk program. almost a year has passed since that meeting took place have you come to a conclusion as to whether it's appropriate for the justice department to look into the matter? >> we have not reached any final determinations but this is something that is under review at the justice department. i hope that we will be able to move this along, i know there is a civil suit from which a lot of information is -- is coming out but it is something, as i think i said then, that we were prepared to look at and something that we are in fact examining. >> as we aprotch the one-year anniversary of that meet, i hope we come to an expedited
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conclusion but i appreciate the deliberateness and care a sensitivity taken toward this matter. i want to turn briefly toward the i.r.s. issue. in 2004, george bush was president, is that right? >> yes. >> and he was in the midst of a competitive re-election, correct? >> yes. >> and in 2004, it was revealed that the i.r.s. went after the naacp for alleged political activity in violation of its status as a not for profit organization. are you familiar with that fact? >> i remember that. >> it was subsequently uncovered that they had done nothing wrong but what was also determined as a result of a four-year request by the naacp was that seven members of the united states congress on the other side of the aisle had written letters to the i.r.s. requesting that the i.r.s. investigate the naacp are you aware of that fact? >> i don't remember that, know. -- that, no. >> was a criminal investigation
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ever launched in connection with the alleged interference that took place lead to an unsubstan shated allegations? >> i don't believe so. >> i'm thankful you have taken the steps to launch an investigation into similar allegations of alleged political interference albeit not by members of congress and we look forward to the results of that inquiry. >> thank you. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, the chairman of the immigration and border security subcommittee, mr. gowdy, for five minutes. >> good afternoon, mr. attorney general. do you think it's reasonable to evaluate how effectively prosecutors and law enforcement are using current firearms statutes as we debate whether or not we need additional firearms statutes? >> that ought to be a factor but i think we are using the laws effectively. >> well, i would have to take
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your word for it, for this reason. i wrote you six months ago and asked for statistics specifically on two code sections, 922-d and 922-g which deal, as you know, specifically with the possession or transfer of firearms by those who have been adjudicated mentally defected or committed to mental institutions. i wrote that let for the december. thinking that being a low level house member wasn't enough to garner any attention, i then got a senator to co-sign the exact same letter with me and we have not heard back yet. so you agree that it is relevant how effectively those code sections are being prosecute as we evaluate whether or not we need adecisional tools? >> excuse me. i think we should take into account all of what we're doing in terms of weapons prosecutions. one seventh of all cases we bring in the federal system are gun cases. >> what percentage of current background checks -- background
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check failures are prosecuted? >> a much smaller number. there were 83,000 background check failures in 2012. there were 85,000 cases brought, a much smaller number of those failures were actually brought. the purpose of the background check system is to prevent people from acquiring guns, 1.5 million have been stopped since the beginning of the system as opposed to the prosecution. >> i understand. i understand that, mr. attorney general. i also understand a little something about a lack of jury appeal. i know certain cases don't have tremendous jury appeal. but when you're advocating for increased background checks, and it can be argued that you're not a good steward of the current background check laws that you have, i just frankly think it undercuts the argument. but reasonable minds can differ on that, i suppose. i don't think reasonable minds can differ on 922d and 922g that
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deal with people, these are not my words, these are in the statute, been adjudged mentally defective, if you want to search for a theme through a lot of mass killings, you'll find that teem theme. i want to read to you a quote atranscribed to you. if the quote is inaccurate, i want to give you a chance to tell me it's inaccurate. i won't read the whole thing. but creating a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized imgrans in this country is essential. this is a matter of civil and human rights. is that an accurate quote? >> i think that's a speech i gave at the anti-defamation league. >> you would agree with me that persons who can't pass background checks should not veivil right, as you call it, of citizenship? >> i use that phrase, i didn't use it in the strictly legal sense -- >> but mr. attorney general, with all due respect, that's the problem with using the phrase.
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you are a highly trained lawyer. and you know what the phrase civil right means. and when you say that you have a civil right to citizenship, when you have broken the law to come to the country that comment has consequences and surely you have o know that. >> with all due respect it was my speech, those were the words i chose. i didn't mean to convey and tnt think it would be taken that way. some have said that, many have not. that that meant that there was a legal right or anything like that. it was in the context of the phrase where i said civil and i think human right and i think that's the words i used there. >> but you've got to understand how it's problematic for those of us, frankly, who are working on immigration reform and don't come from districts where it's a popular political idea to have the attorney general say you
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have a civil and human right to citizenship even though you're in the country in violation of our laws. that's a non sequitur. it's hard for some of us to explain that. i don't know what you meant. i just know what you said. >> and what i meant was that you've got 11 million who mented people here are, we must admit, contributing to this country, often time rs exploited because they are in an undocumented status. >> but mr. attorney general my point is all 11 million aren't valedictorians which is why every bill has a background check provisions and all 11 million don't want citizenship. to call it a human and civil right, speaking for a brd group of 11 million work all due respect is not helpful to those of us who are trying to be hart of e-- to be part of the conversation. >> i didn't mean to say that all 11 million either want to be citizens, you're right, or will ultimately as the bills have been crafted and i think
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appropriately so, will pass the necessary background checks but i'm talking about the universe of people who we do have generally accepted as 11 million and from that 11 million and i suspect it's going to be a large portion of that 11 million will pass background checks, will desire to become citizens and then will be entitled to the human rights that all americans have. after they go through that period of -- that allows them to acquire citizenship along that pathway. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. now recognize the gentleman from idaho, mr. labradoring for five minutes. >> -- mr. labrador, for five minutes. >> good afternoon, mr. attorney general. one of your favorite phrases in this hearing and other hearings, is ongoing criminal investigations. i have also heard you talk about best practices and propriety.
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when you decided to reduce yourself did you look at best practices? i think you already admitted it would have been best practice to put it in writing. but there's a statute that requires to put in writing your reasons for recusal in certain circumstances. frankly i've read it a couple of times, i don't know if it applies to your situation right now but don't you think it would have been the best practice for you to just put it in writing, especially when you're talking about an issue of such significance? >> as i said, i've thought about it even during the course of the last couple of hours, that i think that i'm going to go back and actually think about whether there's some kind of policy that i ought to, i should put in place, examine how often recusals have happened in writing as opposed to orally and i think that the better practice, frankly, we probably ought to put them in writing. >> and i think you should look at whether 28 u.s.c., again i
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don't know if it applies to you but you should look at whether that applies to you and whether there's any other law that would have required you to. >> two things i have on my to-do list. >> the sec thing i want to talk about, we talked about targeting by the i.r.s., admitting they targeted conservative groups. will you state today under oath that the department of justice under your watch has not targeted conservative groups for prosecution for political reasons or to gain political advantage? >> not to my knowledge. i have no knowledge that that's ever occurred. >> do you know if the i.r.s. leaked tax information related to mitt romney during the republican presidential primary and general campaign? >> i don't know. >> and if you do not know, will you attempt to find out in your investigation? >> i'm not sure -- i'm not sure i have a predicate for that. to be honest with you, i don't remember -- >> there were several claims during the campaign that there was personal information from
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mitt romney's tax records being leaked to the press and i just want to know if the i.r.s. was the one leaking that information. we also know that some of mitt romney's top donors were targeted by the i.r.s. and labor department, including a gentleman from idaho, so if you could look at that as well, why was -- why was specifically people giving money, some of romney's top campaign doe no, sirings, that immediately after they became public about how much money they had donated, all of a sudden the i.r.s. and labor department was looking at them. and i have an important question, we've heard about numerous groups that were targeted, that were conservative groups. can you tell me whether obama for america, organizing for america, occupy wall street or any other progressive group has been targeted in the last three to four years by the i.r.s.? >> we're at the beginning of the investigation so i don't know who -- what any groups were targeted. all i know is what i've read
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about in the case. we're in the beginning stages of the investigation of which groups might have been inappropriately looked at. >> i think this is important, it's rather strange that it's only one group of political group, but not the other kind of political group. can you find out for our committee whether that -- >> the investigation would be designed to find out which groups were looked at, make sure that if they were looked at, it was done on an appropriate basis, if it was inappropriate to hold people accountable and that will be done regardless of whether or not they are conservative or liberal, republican-leebing or democratic-leaning. >> and if you find out they were only conservative, can you find out why only conservative groups were targeted? now as you -- i'm going to read to you a quote that you stated about your contempt of congress that -- from last year, in february of this year, you said, i have to tell you, that for me
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to be realy affected by what happened, contempt of congress, i have to have respect for the people who voted in that way and i didn't so it didn't have that huge impact on me. don't you think that quote shows contempt for the republican members of congress that are here that voted for this? there were actually some democratic members of congress who also voted for contempt. >> i have to say that the process we went through, that you all went through in making that contempt determination seemed inconsistent with both prior practice and also inconsistent with -- or not taking into account the good faith attempts we were making to try to share the information that was sought and i thought that it was telling that when the n.r.a. decided to score that vote, what was the n.r.a., what was the involvement of the n.r.a. in that vote at all? it seemed to me then that this was something that was not about me, not about -- it was about me
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but it was not about -- it was about things beyond just the exchange of documents. it was an attempt by certain people to get at this attorney general. and that's why i said that with regard to that process, i simply didn't and don't have respect for it. >> but you say you did have respect for the people who voted and i think the same contempt may have led also to people in this administration thinking they can go after condition servetives and conservative groups. i yield back. >> i'm not the cause of people in the i.r.s. doing things that might have been illegal. i will not take that -- >> i'm not accusing you of that. i'm just saying maybe that same -- that same statement emboldened people to think they could also go after other conservative groups. thank you very much. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. and yields to the gentleman from michigan for a unanimous consent request. >> mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to insert into our record the statement of the
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lawyers committee for civil rights under law. >> without objection, the document will be made a part of the record. >> thank you. >> and the chair would ask unanimous consent that a letter sent to attorney general holder n november 13, 2012, pertinent to the investigation of the matter involving former c.i.a. director david petraeus, signed by former chairman lamar smith and containing 15 questions, which to our knowledge and to the knowledge of former chairman smith have never been answered and we would ask the attorney general to again answer them but we will put those as part of the record and resubmit them to attorney general holder, they were pertinent to this hearing and i think the answers to those questions would be of interest to the members of the committee. the chair now recognizes -- the gentlewoman from texas has a unanimous consent request.
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>> i do, mr. chairman. i was happy to wait until the end they have session -- >> if you'd like to do it now, we can. otherwise we go to mr. farenthold. >> i'll let mr. farenthold. > ok, the chair recognizes mr. farenthold. >> i want to express my appreciation to the attorney general for staying with us so long. i have a big stack of questions so please keep your answers short. i think judge poe did a good job, i'm appalled by what happened, i was appalled when the nixon administration did it, i'm appalled that it's happening under this administration. i'm concerned you said you would mark poe down as not a fn of goth, i hope he has his taxes in order. on the d.o.j. website you say the department has demonstrated
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its historic commitment to transparency. on taking office president obama charged the department that openness prevails. and you called for greater government transparency and a new era of open government. yet we had to resort to contempt of congress, you, i think, called chairman issa shameless. i'd like to offer you the opportunity to give us the stuff we're asking for and be consistent with that transparency. would you please just do it and make it easier for all of us? >> we have been in good faith negotiations, we went through mediation that the house republicans, as i remember, did not want to do. we have tried to find ways in which we could share the requested information. >> we need the information and we want to protect it but i do have a lot of questions so i'm going to go on. let's move on to the justice department's action with respect to the associated press. do you think the massive intrusion of freedom of the press causes an intimidating
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effect on whistleblowers and confidential sources and what do you think of today's "new york times" editorial that says, these tactics won't scare us or the a.p. but they could reveal sources and frighten confidential sources vital to the function of government. >> the justice department doesn't want to have its actions, sources have a negative impact on the news gathering ability -- >> it offends you as an american that we're targeting the media in such a broad fashion, would that be a fair statement? >> i'm not going to comment on an investigation. >> in a hypothetical situation, we're going to go after and subpoena hundreds of phoneline -- phone records for journalists, does that offend you as an american? >> it would depend on the facts. you have to know what the facts are and why the action is taking place.
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>> you stated earlier that you recused yourself from this because you were skied -- questioned about this investigation. as part of that investigation are you aware if any of your telephones were fapped or telephone records were subpoenaed? i mean you were subject to that investigation as well. >> there were, yes, some of my telephone records were examined. >> and other administration's as well? so you did go -- i guess my question is, it seems the media ought to be the last resort. did they subpoena or did you voluntarily turn them over, your phone records? >> i don't have -- i'm not sure i remember. i think i probably voluntarily turned them over. i voluntarily turned them over. >> there's a difference obviously between subpoena and that, let's move on. gregory hicks testified before the government oversight and reform committee that as a result of the appearance of
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susan rice on various talk shows that the f.b.i. -- that the president of libya was offended and delayed the f.b.i.'s access to the consulate in benghazi by 17 days. do you think this would have a negative effect on the f.b.i.'s investigation and ability to get to the bottom of what happened in benghazi? >> i am satisfied with the progress we have made in the investigations regardless of what happened previously. we have made very, very, very substantial progress in that investigation. >> but not having access to an unsecured crime scene for 17 days, that's bound to have had a negative impact? >> it has not had a negative impact on this investigation. >> all right, there was a story today that media matters issued a defense of the justice department's use of the subpoenas for telephones. are you regularly still consults with media matters, for spinning
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your p.r. stories? we talked about that in the oversight and government reform hearing last year. >> i'm not -- i'm not sure i know what you're talking about. >> and then finally, i see i'm out of time. i don't want to break the rules so, thank you very much. >> mr. chairman. >> if i could just, because of what the attorney general in the record, house republicans didn't object to mediation. the attorney general, the government's position was that the judge did not have and still position did not have the ability to adjudicate this dispute at all and we said it was premature to talk about settlement as to the actual document request until he made a -- she made a determination that she would and could decide and that remains. >> can we have regular order we're short of time now. with all due respect to the
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distinguished chairman. >> i just think that a case under -- that affects the house and its ability to do its business needed to be properly defined. i thank the chairman. >> i think that's now part of the record. point well taken. i shared, nformation perhaps i should not have. this was apparently something the judge sheard. let me stop there >> ethis chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding, for five minutes. >> general holder, it's good to see you. during my tenure in the united states attorney's office, i served with four attorneys general, including yourself. during the two years that our service overlapped, i always flt you were supportive to our mission in north carolina and to the law enforcement community. the -- i was somewhat surprised taking you back about two and a half hours ago, you mentioned that you spoke to the chief
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district judges here in washington. and you gave a speech and in your comments, he's criticized the length of federal prison sentences that were being handed out in some instances. and although i don't have a text the speech, maybe you can prvide that, i do see that in april you made similar remarks to the national action network specifically stated that too many people would go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason and sentences bear no relation to the conduct at issue. it breeds disrespect for the system and are ultimately counterproductive. now, candidly, i would expect to hear those remarks more from maybe the chief federal public defender rather than the chief federal law enforcement officer. and for the thousands of cases
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that went through the eastern district of north carolina when i was there, i can think of none that got a prison sentence that was too long. so if you could elaborate just a bit on which criminals are you referring to that are getting too long of a prison sentence in the federal system? >> my responsibility is larger than simply being the chief prosecutor. it seems to me that an attorney general, not just me but the office of the attorney general has a responsibility to the system. and the observation or the comments that i made in that national action network speech, with regard to the judges, i don't have a text, that was extemporaneous are what i feel that if you look at particularly people who got sentenced to long prison sentences in drug cases that are more a function of the weight that was involved in a drug case as opposed to that person's role in the drug scheme, i think judge gleason in his name in new york has made the same observation.
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and i think that, you know, these mandatory minimum sentences that we see, particularly in drugs, particularly when it comes to drugs, i think are unnecessarily long and don't actually go to the purposes of sentencing, that is deterrence and rehabilitation. >> you know as well as i do that by the time a defendant ends up in federal court they usually have been through the state process numerous times. >> that's not always the case. >> it's predominantly the case. that they will have been through the state system numerous times. i think particularly in light of prosecuting felons in possession of a firearm, in the eastern district of north carolina in 2002 well, prosecuted approximately 50 of those case, we ramped them up to about 300 a year and consistently did 300 a year.
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average prison sentences of approximately 10 years. these are cases which you can do in -- in large numbers. and have significant impact not only prison sentences but with a deterrent value as well. i'm concerned that the department of justice under this administration has slacked off of making that a priority, of prosecuting felons in possession of firearms. and i'm concerned that the numbers are falling and i know the committee has asked, you know, to get specific numbers of 922, 924 cases and i don't understand why it's taking so long to get them because unless you changed the software in the last 20 months since i was a sit u.s. attorney, you could have those statist exs in a matter of minutes by culling them through the line system. so are the numbers falling and
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will you please produce the numbers to the committee as soon as you can? >> we'll provide you with those numbers but there's not been a policy decision to de-emphasize those cases. i actually think when it comes to the use of mandatory minimums that felon in possession cases that's a place where mandatory minimums are appropriate. >> are the prosecution priorities of the department of justice under review right now? >> with regard to the gun cases? >> the priorities of prosecution in the department of justice are the u.s. attorneys putting those under review right now? >> yes. i have a working group working with the agac to look at our prosecution priorities, yes. >> and build you keep the committee apprised of what you determine that the priorities ought to be of the department of justice? >> i'd be more than glad to have a dialogue with the committee in that regard. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr.
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collins. >> mr. attorney general, this is the first time you and i have had an advantage to talk. one of the reason -- think advantages of being on think bottom are row is you hear everybody's questions and your anns. i think your anns have been enlightening in some cases an discouraging in others. i'll go back to some of your statements today you made a quote when you were quote, i believe then-president clinton, talking about the era of big government is over and the era of good government will endure. i agree with you, good government should be a limited form of government and i think what we've seeven over the past week or so have shook the foundations of discussing limited government. we understand this and especially in your agency right now, we look at this, you have said on a couple of occasions, you may have said it more if you did, so you talk about the role of the executive, that's the role of the executive, that's what we're supposed to be doing. is that a fair statement, you said that several times today?
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>> i said that but i think i was saying that in reference to who in the -- who is deciding matters. >> that's the role of the executive. but there's a role for congress, correct? >> absolutely. >> that's why you're here today. because this committee has oversight over your department, correct? >> i didn't show up here because i really wanted to. >> that has been painfully obvious in the way you answered some questions. if we come by here, the problem is, though, that's the checks and balances. you come here you answer questions, and we are of the constitutional oversight to have oversight, control and oversight of what goes on and ask these questions. these are not asking questions from up here, at least from my perspective. the people of north georgia, the area i'm from, they want the truth and are frustrated they don't get the truth. they keep hearing other issues that come up on threatening to them and the very sanctity of what they believe, whether it be the i.r.s. or the shrns with the reporters or the litany of
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issues we have talked about today. the question i have is, this being the committee in -- which is oversight that you come to, this will be maybe the first but probably not the only time we'll talk in this capacity, is, it concerns me the lack of preparation or at least perceived welcome of preparation in which you come here today. ms. lofgren made a statement about did you put it in writing? and we have had this discussion about this recusal. your answer to that was, i don't think i put it in writing, i'm not sure. did you not think those questions would be asked of you today that when you redudes yourself, when you were -- did you honestly think those wouldn't be asked today? >> i didn't think about whether it would be asked. >> you're kidding me? you come to thisommittee with these >> would you let me finish, cookman? what i was going to say -- >> mr. attorney general, i yield back my time. >> mr. chairman -- >> can we have a ruling on who
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controls the time? >> the time is controlled by the gentleman from georgia. >> he can have extra time, let him answer the question. >> mr. attorney general, you don't control the time here. >> i'm willing to give -- >> my question is this, as i come back to this -- >> mr. chairman, could the witness have a chance -- >> the witness will have a full opportunity to respond but the gentleman from georgia has the opportunity to ask his question. >> mr. chairman, just to make a point, the attorney general stayed here extra time to make sure that everyone had a chance to ask their questions. considering the fact that he is still here past his time, why can't he answer the question as posed to him? >> he will get an opportunity to answer the question just as soon as mr. collins finishes posing his